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Vocation: Our Kingdom Calling

Vocation: Our Kingdom Calling

Read the series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

God works through our vocations

The word vocation comes from the Latin word for calling and refers to the simple reality that God assigns us in salvation to our various life situations where we are called to walk as believers and make disciples (1 Corinthians 7:17). These life situations include family, job, church, and society.

Each area entails different callings and commands according to our roles, giftedness, and opportunity. In each, however, our purpose is the same: to love God and serve others, displaying His glory and seeking His Kingdom. God works His purposes through all human beings and particularly His people.
In his exposition of Psalm 147, Martin Luther used the term “God’s masks” to refer to the way in which God works through our works. Author Gene Veith elaborates on Luther’s expression in his book God at Work by saying:

God hides himself in the workplace, the family, the Church, and the seemingly secular society. To speak of God being hidden is a way of describing His presence, as when a child hiding in the room is there, just not seen. To realize that the mundane activities that take up most of our lives—going to work, taking the kids to soccer practice, picking up a few things at the store, going to church—are hiding places for God can be a revelation in itself. Most people seek God in mystical experiences, spectacular miracles, and extraordinary acts they have to do. To find Him in vocation brings Him, literally, down to earth, makes us see how close He really is to us, and transfigures everyday life.

Misunderstanding regarding “calling”

People often use the word calling for those in full-time vocational ministry — pastors and missionaries. Not that it’s wrong to view work in vocational ministry as a calling. But it sometimes suggests a false dichotomy between “religious” work that is ministry and “secular” work that is not.

Most of God’s people do not spend their lives in vocational religious ministry. Rather, they work in offices, schools, hospitals, stores, factories, at home, etc. In these places, it is important for believers to recognize that God has called or assigned them to that work to display Him there as much as He has called their pastor to the church.

Kingdom advance through our vocations 

Through our vocations, we carry out the cultural mandate. Culture is advanced in a way that reflects God’s glory as people exercise their callings with integrity, creativity, and excellence. It is also through the workplace vocations of all humanity that God works to provide the daily necessities of life for which believers are taught to pray.

This reality informs our perception of the non-believing work world around us as an integral part of the accomplishment of God’s purposes in the world. Not only can we not escape this “secular” world; on the contrary, we depend on one another regardless of belief, and we as believers need to engage it. Through our engagement, Jesus advances His kingdom as we live out our faith in our vocation and lovingly invest in others.

While the non-believer may not understand or accept this high calling in our vocation, believers can recognize the dignity of their vocations as “a reflection of God and means of His work” as they walk in obedience to Christ.

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