We’re getting well into the vocation series now, and I thought I’d pitch in an idea that I want to clarify. Whilst I see no distinction in the different works men and women do, I do not think it can be taken so far as to say it doesn’t matter at all what you do. We are all called to be ambassadors of Christ, we are all given a calling to follow Jesus and to give witness to His work in us. In that sense, we can achieve the tasks just as well at the bakery, the school, the coal mine, the church office, or the home. The environment is condusive to proper Christian behavior, wherever that environment is. However, the following statement I made in the introductory post needs some alteration:
Vocation, as a Christian ideal, must sit at a level above the mere task at hand, and is instead rooted much deeper in our identity, informing the manner of the task at hand rather than defining the specific actions of the task at hand.
I think I should much prefer it if I had written “as well as” instead of “rather than” for I feel I was a little taken with my own cleverness when I wrote that sentence. As men have noted before, sometimes the pendulum swings too far the other way. And so I am publicly correcting myself. I could have just edited the old post and the people who have read it would not have necessarily noticed the difference, but that would be cheating. I’m quite comfortable with the fact I do not have all the answers, and the answers I think I have are often in need of refinement, or abandonment as the case may prove! All except the matter of Jesus! He I am quite convinced of, in all His splendor.
Anyway, the point is that I think God calls all people both generally and specifically. There is a general call which every follower of Jesus must answer and obey. That call is to worship God, love Him and love our neighbor as ourselves. That call is to be an ambassador of Christ, a seed scattering disciple, a life lived in surrender to the God who is there and is not silent. At the same time as this general call I see God calling each person in a specific way too. The danger comes when we take our specific call and try to make it the general call, or when we consider someone else’s specific call as a general call. We must not seek to appropriate the calling God has placed on another. That will bring us neither peace, nor joy.
In this way, the general call on an elder of the church is the same general call a non-elder has, but the specific call of teaching, ministry of prayer, oversight and so forth are peculiar to his calling. His work is spiritual, but not more so than the man who receives his paycheck from working the assembly line, for both have a likewise calling – to follow Jesus and be salt & light. It is only in the sphere of their actions that they differ, and the specifics of their work.
Having proved myself wrong, or incomplete at best, I am open to dialogue on this matter. Chime in, let me know what you think about all these work ideas, and let me know if this series is giving you a new perspective on the work set before you.