Since I’ve been doing reading on vocation lately, I thought I’d share this great quote by Martin Luther followed by the commentary of Gustaf Wingren. It has to do with how vocation is related to “love thy neighbor.”
“If you are a craftsman you will find the Bible placed in your workshop, in your hands, in your heart; it teaches and preaches how you ought to treat your neighbor. Only look at your tools, your needle, your thimble, your beer barrel, your articles of trade, your scales, your measures, and you will find this saying written on them. You will not be able to look anywhere where it does not strike your eyes. None of the things with which you deal daily are too trifling to tell you this incessantly, if you are but willing to hear it; and there is no lack of such preaching, for you have as many preachers as there are transactions, commodities, tools, and other implements in your house and estate; they shout this to your face, ‘My dear, use me toward your neighbor as you would want him to act toward you with that which is his.’”
Here’s Wingren’s commentary:
“Thus a Christian finds himself called to drab and lowly tasks, which seem less remarkable than monastic life…and other distractions from our vocations. For him who heeds his vocation, sanctification is hidden in offensively ordinary tasks, with the result that it is hardly noticed at all that he is a Christian. But faith looks on simple duties as tasks to which vocation summons the man; and by the Spirit he becomes aware that all those ‘poor, dull, and despised works’ are adorned with the favor of God ‘as with costliest gold and precious stones.’ The monk is always uncertain about his works; but in work which really contributes to the neighbor’s well-being and is commanded by God, peace and certainty are found” (p. 72-73).
Though it isn’t the easiest book to read, Gustaf Wingren’s Luther On Vocation is a wonderful resource on the topic of Christian vocation. And the above quotes are some great words to remember: when we go about our daily Christian life of faith – whether in the home, tractor cab, or office (etc.) – we can serve our neighbor and be sure that God is pleased with us and glorified in what we do.
rev shane lems