Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. – I Corinthians 7:17
I recently read a book that helped to illuminate many of the fine points of the idea of vocation, as well as some fairly major ones! The concept is nothing new. God gives it to us in Scripture, especially clearly in I Corinthians 7:17. Martin Luther expounded on it in great detail nearly 500 years ago. In today’s society, we mostly associate the term “vocation” with one’s job or career, but God presents us with something much broader and much more helpful in living out our life of faith (Veith & Moerbe, 2012).
Understood in its fuller meaning, and from its root in the Latin, vocatio, it is really a calling. Veith and Moerbe sum up the meaning of vocation nicely:
“Its Christian meaning is that God calls us to the different roles that he asks us to play and in which he is active….It is in our various vocations that we live out our faith in love and service to the various neighbors that God brings into our lives. Not only that, God works in and through all of these vocations and the unique individuals he calls to fill them, including us” (2012, p. 210).
Here the authors lay out all of the elements of vocation.
- God calls us.
- We have different roles.
- God is active in them.
- Through vocation we live out our faith.
- Vocation is to specific neighbors.
- God brings those particular neighbors to us.
Could God choose to do His work without us? Absolutely! But His preferred method to provide for His children is through other human beings. Each day we are blessed by the results of many people living out their vocation: Family members having lived out their vocation as parent, sibling, extended family; friends; others in more tangible vocations as farmers, butchers, automaker, architect, computer programmer, etc. You get the idea.
Luther considered the family vocations (husband, wife, father, mother, child, sibling) as most important. And of course they are! This is where faith is modeled and developed. There is nothing more important to our Lord than our salvation!
In the months to come, we’ll take a look at the individual family vocations, and share resources that encourage and equip us in the various roles to which God has called us!
Joy in Jesus!
Want to know more? Check out Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood by Gene Edward Veith Jr. & Mary J. Moerbe (2012)!