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Working For The Lord

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Colossians 3:17–25 NIV
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.
Col 3:12

Q: What’s The Most Important Thing To You?

Pastor friend who once said that changing a baby’s dirty diaper has as much spiritual significance as religious work, as evangelism, or witnessing…if that is what the Lord’s has given you to do.
Reformation Principal: Vocation
During Middle Ages, vocation reduced to church work.
During the Reformation, theologians like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and to a lesser extent Cranmer, sought to return holiness to everyday life.
Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions Article XXVII (XIII): Monastic Vows

All people, in every vocation, should seek perfection, that is, grow in the fear of God, in faith, in love toward one’s neighbor, and similar spiritual virtues.

This morning we are going to look at what it means to grow in fear of God, in faith, and in love toward neighbor through the lens of our vocations toward family and work.

What is Vocation?

God could have decided to populate the earth by creating each new person from the dust, as He did Adam. Instead, He chose to create new life through the vocation of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. God calls men and women together and grants them the unfathomable ability to have children. He calls people into families, in which—through the love and care of the parents—He extends His love and care for children. This is the doctrine of vocation. When we or a loved one gets sick, we pray for healing. Certainly God can and sometimes does grant healing through a miracle. But normally He grants healing through the vocations of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, and the like. It is still God who heals us, but He works through the means of skilled, talented, divinely equipped human beings.
Point One: Vocation is the combination of skills, roles, and responsibilities that God uniquely shares with us in all areas of life.
Vocation is not just a job, in the Christian sense.

Marital Vocation

It isn’t what I do even to fulfill and earthly responsibility.
Vocation is what God uses, through me, the bless the world around me.
Example: If I’m a parent, God blesses my children through the vocation of parenting.
If I’m an employee, God blesses my workplace, and the people around me through my unique skills and abilities.
Question: Which vocation in life do you figure is the most important one?
Point Two: The most important vocations, are the vocations that God has given you.
Veith Jr., Gene Edward. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Kindle Locations 97-104). Crossway. Kindle Edition. : The most important vocations, are the ones that God has given you.
I mention this for a reason, some people attempt to elevate one vocation over another.
Sometimes we hear things in regards to, “the most important thing in life is family.”
I don’t read that in the Bible.
What I read in the Bible is that God’s calling is the most important thing.
If God calls you to have a family, you must live out that vocation faithfully.
But if God has called you to live out your vocation of healing, protecting, service, etc...
That vocation is just as important as the vocation of family.
God is not weighing vocation liek we have a tendency to do.
God is looking at the world through the lens of service and mission, and we must live our vocations out faithfully in ALL areas of life.

Vocation Through Profession

Point Three: Your job is not your vocation, but you exercise your vocation through your job.
A Christian and a non-Christian may labor side by side in the same job, and on the surface they are doing exactly the same thing. But work that is done in faith has a different significance than work that is done in unbelief. The doctrine of vocation helps Christians see the ordinary labors of life to be charged with meaning. It also helps put their work into perspective, seeing that their work is not saving them, but that they are resting in the grace of God, who in turn works through their labors to love and serve their neighbors.
Colossians 3:22–24 NIV
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Col 3:
As believers in Christ, we do not serve the world only with an eye toward the world.
We serve knowing that God has called us, in the unique ways he has created us, to bless the world around us.
Our great joy is to know that we are exercising the vocation god has given us, in our work for the world around us.
Point Four: When we work, we see blessing, not mere toil.
Stay at home parents
When you make that meal, change that diaper, pray for your children, get them to appointments...
It’s not meaningless toil.
It’s you living out both a vocation of parent AND service to your children.
You bless those children by being God’s love to them.
People at work
When you fix that engine, maintain the technical orders, teach the students, fly the plane, instruct, etc...
God is using you through your work to bless your country, your neighbors, etc...
Veith Jr., Gene Edward. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Kindle Locations 2009-2012). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Veith Jr., Gene Edward. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Kindle Locations 716-720). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Family Vocation

Colossians 3:18–21 NIV
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Col 3:
God has one intention for the Christian family.
Loving service to one another, just as Christ loved and served the church.
Wives, submit to your husbands
Husbands, be kind and gentle to your wives.
Children obey your parents
Fathers, be kind to your children
Point Five: God wants your family to be as loving as Jesus’ relationship with the church.
Veith Jr., Gene Edward. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Kindle Locations 2009-2012). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
This can be so hard, can’t it?
I think of some of the deep, intense hurts I’ve experienced through family, and I think that family hurts are the hardest to release to God.
: God’s plan for the family is that the members love one another as Christ loves us.
Just this week I was laying in bed, and experiencing great anger about an injustice that had been done to me.
And, yet, I know that anger comes from a place of love.
For I wouldn’t be angry, if I hadn’t invested much.
As I was laying in bed one evening, I saw the face of Christ on the cross.
He…sinlesss…I am not.
He…perfectly loving....I am not.
He didn’t raise a hand against those who were hurting him.
Question: Can I follow in those footsteps?
Can I release the betrayal by this person that I care about, and still love?
Some of your greatest lessons in the cost and extent of God’s love, will be in the context of family.
Though authority within the family and the other vocations is very real, it is not the purpose of vocation. Many people immediately jump to issues of authority when they think of vocation, discussing what authority parents have over their children, what authority husbands have over their wives, then jumping to the other vocations to try to figure out what authority employers and civic rulers and pastors have over their charges. It is true that all legitimate authority derives from God, who is indeed present in these vocations. But to reduce these relationships to matters of obedience is to construe the doctrine of vocation as just Law when it is also a matter of Gospel. The essence and purpose of Christian vocation—from the point of view of the person holding the vocation and being a vehicle for God’s action—is love and service.

Conclusion

Conclusion

the Christian life is to be lived in vocation, in the seemingly ordinary walks of life that take up nearly all of the hours of our day. The Christian life is to be lived out in our family, our work, our community, and our church. Such things seem mundane, but this is because of our blindness. Actually, God is present in them—and in us—in a mighty, though hidden, way.
How do we balance family and work?
We lovingly utilize our God-given talents in the blessing of service to others.
Family, workmates, society, Holloman, your home, your squadron.
In my faith tradition, it often said that God doesn’t need your works. Your neighbor does.
Gladly, God uses the willing servant to bless both home and work.
Go, live out what God has given you to do in this world, and know that God is everywhere in it.
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