Every Good Endeavor 9

imgresIn Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller observes that God provides “purpose for our work by calling us to serve the world” through our work.  Very Lutheran.

“Our daily work,” once so reconceived as “God’s assignment to serve others” then becomes a calling.  This implies “we are not to choose jobs and conduct our work to fulfill ourselves and accrue power….”  Why?  I love this answer: “for being called by God to do something is empowering enough.”

So how should one choose one’s work?  By asking, “How, with my existing abilities and opportunities, can I be of greatest service to other people, knowing what I do of God’s will and of human need?”  In this statement I hear an echo of Frederick Buechner’s oft-quoted definition of vocation in Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

(By the way, I find myself returning time and again to Buechner’s three autobiographies, especially when I want to re-examine my own life’s path and God’s calling for me.  They are The Sacred Journey, Now and Then, and Telling Secrets.  The subtitle of Now and Then?  “A Memoir of Vocation.”)

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Luther on Vocation 10

luther on vocationIn The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work,” Kathleen Norris shows the sacredness of the so-called mundane in as beautiful a prose as I’ve encountered.  Almost like that of Frederick Buechner.

In Luther on Vocation, Gustaf Wingren says Luther, too, had a related insight: “For him who heeds his vocation, sanctification is hidden in offensively ordinary [i.e., mundane] tasks.”

(And this is why, concludes Luther, it is wrongheaded to hold up the “monastic life” as superior to “drab and lowly tasks which seem less remarkable…”  Well, wrongheaded is my word.  Luther is harsher, using words like “evil” and “devil” to refer to the monastic life.  Not sure if I would have liked him had I known him personally.  🙂