2 Peter 1.3
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”
There are two “callings” to which the followers of Jesus must respond. We must first respond to the call to trust in Jesus and walk in obedience to him. This is the primary calling. Second, we must choose a job and then do our work in a way that is excellent and reflects the reality of Jesus in our life. This is the secondary calling.
One mistake is a spiritualized form of dualism that elevates the “spiritual” at the expense of the “physical.” This error emphasizes the primary calling and de-emphasizes the secondary calling. In this approach, the mistake is thinking that getting saved is the only thing that really matters, and that doing your daily job with excellence is simply not a priority. It is the misguided notion that working is not a spiritual priority, but is necessary only to put food on the table.
This is why Paul wrote in Colossians: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Martin Luther spoke out strongly against this de-emphasis of daily work. “The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone. . . . Indeed, the menial housework of a manservant or maidservant is often more acceptable to God than all the fastings and other works of a monk or priest, because the monk or priest lacks faith.”
A second mistake is a secularized form of dualism that elevates the “physical” at the expense of the “spiritual.” This error emphasizes the secondary calling and de-emphasizes the primary calling. It disconnects work from faith altogether. With this error, work itself becomes the primary calling, and people do daily work with no consideration for the principles, standards, and disciplines of the kingdom of God.
The secularization of calling is revealed in how the word “vocation” has changed over the years. Vocation derives from the Latin word for calling, and it originally had a deeply spiritual meaning. It referred to the work someone did as called by God. Today, however, vocation is simply used to describe the work someone does with no connection to God whatsoever. In other words, slowly but surely secondary callings swallowed up the primary calling.
People go to work every day, but they have forgotten why and for Whom.
There can be no real vocation or calling without a Caller. God first calls us to himself, and then he calls us into the world to be workers. We must keep the primary calling just that—primary. Only then can we truly understand and respond to our secondary calling. We must do our jobs and pursue excellence in our daily work because we are working for the Audience of One.
Trust God and respond to his call on your life.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cornthians 10.31)