Christ Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Day 2: Vocation Devotion

Tuesday May 5th

I know that work can be a drag sometimes.  Perhaps the labor itself is mundane or difficult.  Perhaps you have lazy co-workers that make the day much harder than it needs be.  

Perhaps the worst part about your job is the fact that you butt heads with your boss.  Maybe your boss is incompetent, harsh, or rude.  

Of course, you can apply this to anything else in your vocations. Replace your job with marriage, parenting, your next-door neighbors, and your fellow Christians.  It doesn’t matter, all vocations are now marred by sin and you can say the same about all of them at some point or another.  

What should you do?  Most people usually abandon post.  Forsake the difficult work and look for more pleasurable things to do.  Find vocations where the grass is greener on the other side.  
Here are some examples:

Is your marriage difficult?  Most get divorced.  

Is the church where I worship at a drag?  Many leave to find a church that fits their “needs” whatever those are.  

Are your next-door neighbors less than stellar people? I guess that means it is time to move.    A lot easier than trying to love them after all.  

These are typical human responses to the givenness of God’s calling of vocation.  I suppose I could concede a point before I go further here, that with Paul we can affirm when he speaks to slaves that if the opportunity affords itself to become free to take it, then take it.  

But until such a moment provides itself, and let’s be honest, as far as it depends on you, your vocation demands that you stick it out, no matter what.  For most of the God given vocations in life, your God ordained death is the only way out of them.  Doesn’t matter if you have harsh bosses, abusive parents, neglectful co-workers, and/or spiteful children.  

Even when other people in your life fail to do their part to you in their vocations, that is no excuse for you to do the same.  In fact, it calls for steadfastness!  

In one of my prayer books, I was amazed at a prayer titled: “a wife’s prayer concerning a bad husband.”  In it, the wife laments to God about her husband being angry, neglectful, even abusive toward her. She cries out to God that he would change her husband’s heart.  But at the same time, she prays for steadfastness and courage to live with her husband, “until we lay aside our estate of marriage here and live with you forever in Your heavenly kingdom hereafter and extol and praise Your glorious wonders.  Amen.”

I was amazed by this prayer.  Who could risk praying such a prayer?!  We dare not, after all, God could grant it.  Death is the only escape for marriage.  This is not an excuse for abusive spouses, in fact abusive partners should be warned and threatened with the wrath that is to come for their actions and if they should not heed these threats, then I side with Luther that such rabble should be shown to the executioner.  

But for workers who labor in bad conditions with lazy co-workers, and spouses who deal with difficult marriages, and parents who must put up with defiant children, and Christians who deal with the sins of a brother: then what does our vocation call for us to do?
Paul gives us our answer in Colossians 3:23-25, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive an inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.  For the wrong doer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”  
This certainly is not a cushy, therapeutic, neat little psychological answer that we moderns would like to hear.  Why not get a divorce and plan my repentance?!  Have my cake and eat it too!  No. Christianity is not like that.  But what do you expect, this is the doctrine of vocation!  But in our failures, let us throw ourselves upon the mercy of our loving Lord who forgives us when we fail in our vocations and restores us back to them, like Hagar being told by God to go back to Sarai and submit to her in Genesis 16.  

From this, we should conclude this: Whatever your vocation and no matter the struggle, look to eternity and not to here and now.  Look to the reward that you will receive from Christ, even when you suffer justly now as 1 Peter writes.  Don’t bother counting the suffering of this present time, knowing the glory that is to be revealed in us is inexpressible as Paul writes in Romans 8.  

You work for the Lord Christ.  Know that the paycheck Christ delivers to you on the Last Day will be a glorious inheritance.  God grant that for Jesus Christ’s sake.  Amen.