Vocation and Calling
In today’s world, the word “vocation” generally is used synonymously with the word “job,” but is that really what the word means? The original root word for "vocation" literally means a “calling.” Typically, when asked who is called by God, most people would respond that pastors, priests, and others who work in a church are called to do so. In reality, though, the concept of God's “calling” applies to everyone in God's gift of Baptism.
In his exposition on Psalm 147, Martin Luther helps us understand that, in our life, we are all called in many and various ways. Luther writes:
Thus, in our life, we are each called in many and various ways. What is more, the ways in which we are called may change and take different forms at different parts of our lives. So while those serving as Pastor, Priest or any other church work are understood to be called, such is no more or no less a calling than any other way in which we may earn a living. We understand that regardless of our job or what type of work we do, we are always to do so as those serving as part of the body of Christ in the world.
This sense of our calling extends even further and encompasses the relationships with others. As such, our faith informs and framed all relationships of which we are a part including; sons and daughters, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters; friends, co-workers, and the list goes on. In short, in all that we are and in all that we do, we strive to live according to our Baptismal calling in Christ.
The BLC vocational statement below, outlines just a few of the many ways in which we all are called to live and to serve. We admittedly fall short, but rejoice and give thanks for God’s infinite and abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness. In Christ, we live as those who are called, fed, and sent to love and serve even as Christ first loves and serves us.
God could easily give you grain and fruit without your plowing and planting. But He does not want to do so. . . . What else is all our work to God—whether in the fields, in the garden, in the city, in the house, in war, or in government—but just such a child’s performance, by which He wants to give His gifts in the fields, at home, and everywhere else? These are the masks of God, behind which He wants to remain concealed and do all things.”
“We have the saying: ‘God gives every good thing, but not just by waving a hand.’ God gives all good gifts; but you must lend a hand and take the bull by the horns.”
“Make the bars and gates, and let Him fasten them. Labor, and let Him give the fruits. Govern, and let Him give His blessing. Fight, and let Him give the victory. Preach, and let Him win hearts. Take a husband or a wife, and let Him produce the children. Eat and drink, and let Him nourish and strengthen you. And so on. In all our doings He is to work through us, and He alone shall have the glory from it.”
* - in Scripture, the Greek word that is usually translated as "disciple" may be understood as one who follows another in order to learn. The term though is generally understood as extending beyond a student merely seeking knowledge to one who, as an apprentice, follows a teacher into a way of life.
The Greek word for "apostle" means one who is sent bearing a message.