Vocation and Society
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” Col. 3:15-17).
While there are many current evidences of decay, there is also a saving remnant, especially among those of the silent center. In spite of the much-publicized erosion of faith, large segments of our people accept Christ as the surest reality of their lives; they truly love God, and they engage in service to their fellow men which is motivated by this love.
One of the heartening developments of our time has been the growing awareness, on the part of those touched by the Christian gospel, of the meaning of vocation. The idea is that God can call us to many kinds of activity and that secular work well done is a holy enterprise.
The word “vocation” has been debased in the modern world by being made synonymous with “occupation,” but it is one of the gains of our time that the old word is beginning to regain its original meaning of “calling” [1 Cor. 1:26]. “Behold your calling, brethren,” is the old text which is now achieving new significance. On the purely secular basis the term “vocation” is practically meaningless, since, unless God really is, there is no one to do the calling, but, on the Christian basis, it is a reasonable word. It still refers, in many cases, to occupation, but the conception is that each occupation can and must be conceived as a ministry.
The exciting idea behind the New Testament use of “calling” is that ours is God’s world, in all its parts. The way in which we grow potatoes is as much a matter of God’s will as is the way in which we pray or sing. Of all precious elements in God’s world, [believing] men and women are most precious, because they share something of the divine life, particularly in the capacity to be creative. Toil then becomes holy, because it is by toil that men can prove themselves creatures made in God’s image. If God is the Worker, then men and women, in order to fulfill their potentialities, must be workers, too. They are sharing in creation when they develop a farm, paint a picture, build a home, or polish a floor.
“Slaves [or employees], your job is to obey your human masters, not with the idea of catching their eye or currying favor, but as a sincere expression of your devotion to the Lord. Whatever your task is, put your whole heart and soul into it, as into work done for the Lord and not merely for men–knowing that your real reward will come from him. You are actually slaves of the Lord Christ Jesus” (Col. 3:22-24 Philips).
Part 1 of 2
 See the inspiring film, Faith Like Potatoes.
Some refer to the dignity of work as an application of God’s “dominion mandate” in Genesis 1:26.
For further study on this topic, see Serving Christ In the Workplace, by Larry Peabody. (Old
title: “SECULAR WORK IS FULL-TIME SERVICE”). It points out that secular work is sacred when God is in it. Athought-provoking and balanced presentation of Biblical principles.
Scripture quotations added (NKJV).
“David Elton Trueblood (December 12, 1900 – December 20, 1994), …was a noted 20th century American Quaker author and theologian, former chaplain both to Harvard and Stanford universities. Trueblood also founded the Yokefellow movement and supported Stephen Ministries … In the 1950s, Trueblood served as a senior advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who created a post for him as Director of Religious Information at the U.S. Information Agency (formerly the Voice of America). Time magazine profiled him in this role on March 15, 1954. Later, he served as an advisor to President Richard Nixon… Elton Trueblood wrote 33 books.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._Elton_Trueblood