Monday, September 6, 2010


My pastor preached an excellent message yesterday about discerning God's will when it comes to choosing a means of making a living. Usually people who are unemployed are looking for a "job." People who are heading for a college or vocational school usually think of themselves preparing for a life-long career in some high-paying field. He explained that the word "career" was a rather modern term for what the Church has historically called a "vocation." I find that strange because the word "vocation" only appears once in the entire Bible. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul wrote, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation to which ye are called." We find the context for this statement in Ephesians 2:10: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Between the two verses, Paul speaks of the unity of believers, the Church being the temple of God, the Church being a mystery hidden until the present, and God's provision for His workers. Paul was writing to all believers about integrity on the job. In another place, he wrote, " all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). In his letter to the Church in Colosse, he wrote, "And whatever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" and "And whatever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Col. 3:17, 23).

Most Bible students know that the Apostles Peter, Andrew, James, and John were formerly fishermen. They know that Matthew was a tax collector known as Levi. They know that the Apostle Paul was a tent-maker by trade, and Moses was a shepherd, as was David. While we don't know the background of every person used of God in the Bible, it is clear that they were doing something prior to being called to service in His kingdom. If Paul had written Ephesians solely to individuals serving as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, one might draw the conclusion that by "vocation," he was referring to members of the clergy, but it was written to the whole Church. Pastor used the example of the Publicans and Soldiers in Luke 3:12-14. Jesus did not tell them to stop doing the jobs they had, but to continue doing them in a way that honors God. A Christian known for fair prices and honest labor is respected by everyone. And that is the kind of Christian to which unbelievers want to listen when they are being drawn to Christ. No one wants advice from a crook.

You may manage a grocery store, wash dishes in a restaurant, own your own business, or mop floors for a living; it really doesn't make a difference, because God wants you to do it with all of your ability and with a good attitude while you are doing it. Should God decide that He wants you to "leave your nets" and become missionaries, then great. But, it has been my experience, being a Christian for nearly forty years, that God may only call one out of a hundred for full time ministry. I have also noticed that the one He chooses is one who is being faithful at the work he is already doing. Just a note to the other ninety-nine: your work is crucial for the support of the Church, monetarily and as workers in the ministry. Everyone should find a place of service in his local church, and do that work for the glory of God. Labor for Him.

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