I was reminded last night about the importance of our vocation as part of our spiritual development after reading this from Internet Monk.
So often Christians separate vocation (work) from their spiritual lives. We think that the only people who are supposed to have those connected are the clergy. But that’s not the case.
The Bible is very clear that work is to be a normal part of life. We were made to be useful (but not to let our work become our idol). Even before the Fall of Adam and Eve, God gave them work to do. When they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, part of the curse was that our work was to become much more difficult. The book of Proverbs is chock full of exhortations for us to not be lazy and to do the work that is before us. Paul says, in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lords, not for men, since you know that your will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Later in church history, Luther reminds us that domestic work is serving God. In his essay, “The Estate of Marriage” (1522), he commends to both men and women the work of taking care of children, including washing diapers, as part of serving God.
When I was working in medicine, I felt sure that I was in a vocation where I could serve God. I did my best to take care of patients, to pray for them, and to refer them for spiritual care when needed.
Now I’m a stay-at-home mom who has trouble keeping the house running, much less getting the kids educated. I have a bad habit of looking into the future and thinking about when I can have a “vocation” again. Yet my vocation is here at home. Raising and educating children is an important job. If this is where God wants me to be right now, then I need to accept that joyfully.
Occasionally, I run into people who think that I’m wasting my education. Education is never wasted. In fact, my high level of education makes me an ideal home educator. There is a lot less looking stuff up in biology and medicine because I’m already familiar with the information. Besides, learning is never wasted – it expands our horizons and encourages us to think.
Today, when you go to work or stay at home to work, remember that you are serving God. There is no wall between our spiritual lives and the rest of life.