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Tag Archives: Gene Edward Veith

The doctrine of Vocation

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Is going to work a burden and at times an endless chore? Do you feel that you are only “serving God” when you join the church choir or become a minister in church? It’s high time you thought again about what God has given you and where he has placed you. Quoting Gene Edward Veith:

The word “calling,” or in its Latinate form “vocation,” had long been used in reference to the sacred ministry and the religious orders. Martin Luther was the first to use “vocation” to refer also to secular offices and occupations. Today, the term has become common-place, another synonym for a profession or job, as in “vocational training.” But behind the term is the notion that every legitimate kind of work or social function is a distinct “calling” from God, requiring unique God-given gifts, skills, and talents. Moreover, the Reformation doctrine of vocation teaches that God himself is active in everyday human labor, family responsibil-ities, and social interactions.

For instance, to take one of Luther’s examples, we pray in the Lord’s Prayer that God give us our daily bread, which he does. He does so, not directly as when he gave manna to the Israelites, but through the work of farmers and bakers-and we might add truck drivers and retailers. In effect, the whole economic system is the means by which God gives us our daily bread. Each part of the economic food chain is a vocation, through which God works to distribute his gifts. Similarly, God heals the sick. While he can and sometimes does do so directly, in the normal course of things he works through doctors, nurses, and other medical experts. God protects us from evil, with the vocation of the police officer. God teaches through teachers, orders society through governments, proclaims the Gospel through pastors.

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