Young People, these are the outlines for the discussion groups at the convention. Read and study them to be prepared to take an active part.
I. The Idea of Vocation.
A. The meaning of the word.
1. The meaning of the word as such.
a. The word comes from a Latin word which means “to call.”
b. As applied to the subject, therefore, the idea is that the life’s work which we choose is a “calling.’’
2. This word is, in the light of the Scriptures, particularly apt.
a. It means, first of all, that every calling is a calling of God.
1) This is the idea, e.g., in the parable of the talents. Matthew 25:14-30.
a) The man travelling to a far country is Christ from the viewpoint of His ascension into heaven.
b) The exalted Christ gives to every one of the citizens of the kingdom his own place and calling in that kingdom. This is the idea of the talents.
c) And Christ gives that place “to every man according to his several ability;” i.e., Christ gives to every one the gifts which enable him to do the work in his particular place and calling in the kingdom. Vs 15.
2) Thus, the following elements are included in one’s calling.
a) The calling is from God Who assigns each His place.
b) The calling is to work within the kingdom.
c) The calling is according to the abilities which each man receives from God.
b. It is important to understand that this pertains to the whole of our calling.
1) The reference is not only to special places within the kingdom, although this also is included.
a) Officebearers in the Church.
b) Christian school teachers, Sunday School teachers, participation in all the activities of the Church, etc.
2) But the calling includes the whole of our calling in life, for all belongs to the kingdom.
a) The calling and responsibilities of family life, whether as parents or children.
b) The calling to walk as God’s people in the world; i.e., to flee from sin and do the good.
c) The particular way in life in which we earn our daily bread.
B. However, the word “vocation” is usually used to refer to that work by which we earn our living in the world. And on that we must concentrate.
1. There is no particular work which is, as such, disapproved by Scripture.
a. One can be, according to Scripture, either an employer or an employee. See Ephesians 6:5-9.
b. One can enter any of the professions: minister, teacher, doctor, dentist, lawyer, etc. None of these professions are, as such, condemned.
c. One can even, under certain circumstances, serve in the military. Cf. Luke 3:14.
d. Nor are even positions in government necessarily closed to the Christian.
2. The most fundamental calling in any work which we are given to do is to glorify God.
a. This means, concretely, that whatever work we do in life, it must always be done in such a way that God is glorified.
1) And that, in turn, means that we must be always conscious of the fact that our work is work given us in the kingdom of Christ.
2) And that, by means of our work, we must seek the kingdom and God’s righteousness. See Matthew 6:33, Colossians 3:1-3, and similar passages.
b. Hence, there are no higher and lower “callings” in the kingdom. Every work is noble and glorious.
1) Whether that be as a mother in the home:
2) Of digging ditches, collecting garbage, building houses;
3) Or preaching the gospel, teaching in Christian schools.
II. The Choice of Vocation.
A. In general, the choice must always be a spiritual choice.
1. This does not always happen in our life.
a. It is a critical choice that must be made.
1) It is usually made at a very early period in life — somewhere in our late teens.
2) But it is a choice that often determines a large part of our life.
b. It is a choice which is often given little or wrong consideration.
1) Sometimes we just slide into a particular job because it happens to be available.
2) Sometimes the only (or, at least, chief) consideration is the amount of money we can make.
3) Oftentimes we give little thought that it is God Who assigns each his place.
2. Yet always the choice must be made before the face of God and in prayer.
a. It must be a choice which takes into account the abilities God has given to us:
1) Musical abilities, mechanical abilities, teaching abilities, mathematical abilities, etc.
2) We must, with the help of teachers, pastors, and parents, come to know these abilities as best we can.
3) God shows us our life-calling in this way.
b. But it must also take into account the way in which God leads us.
1) God opens the way into a certain work, and shuts the door to a certain calling.
2) He may do this in many ways, and we must be conscious that He always leads by His hand to point us to our work.
3) He may, and usually does, do this by opening up to us a particular job which comes available at the time we need work.
4) He uses all the circumstances of life to make His way clear to us.
B. This is also true when specific choices face us.
1. We must always ask the questions which bring us before His face.
a. These questions are:
1) How can I, with my abilities, and in the place in life God has given me, best serve Him?
2) How can I best serve the cause of His kingdom?
3) Lord, what wouldst Thou have me do?
b. Then, in the work we have for our life’s calling we will find happiness and contentment.
1) We will do every task laid upon us for the purpose of seeking His kingdom and righteousness.
2) Our hearts will be set upon the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. But this brings up several questions which are worth while discussing.
a. Is every job open to the Christian in the light of the times in which we live?
1) What about the need to join the neutral labor unions in some jobs?
2) What about some jobs which almost necessarily involve a breaking of God’s commandments? A business firm, e.g., which requires dishonesty of its workers.
3) What about work which involves labor on the Lord’s Day?
a) Is all such work wrong?
b) Is some wrong and some legitimate?
c) What standard can we use to judge?
4) What about work that takes us away from our Church on the Lord’s Day? Such as military service?
b. Are all the professions legitimate work in the light of the times in which we live?
1) Is it possible for a Christian to be a politician and hold a place in government?
2) Is it right to make a career in music such as concert pianist or operetic soloist?
III. The Calling of Vocation.
A. Scripture gives general directions for our calling in whatever vocation we choose, but does not give specific commands for each.
1. There are directives for:
a. Employers, Eph. 6:9, Col. 4:1, and like passages.
b. Employees. Eph. 6:5-8. Col. 3:22-25. 1 Peter 2:18-25. etc.
c. Husbands and wives. I Peter 3:1-7, Col. 3:18-21, Eph. 6:4, etc.
d. Office-bearers. 1 Timothy 3, Titus 2, 1 Peter 5:1-4, etc.
e. And many specific commands with respect to our relationships to parents, magistrates, etc.
2. But, in our specific calling we must apply the general principles of God’s Word.
B. This specific calling.
1. It involves:
a. In whatever task we have, we are called to do the very best job of which we are capable.
b. We are called to do this whether we wash dishes, climb electric poles, work a drill press, teach the 7th grade, or whatever.
c. We are called to do this in such a way that we always seek the welfare of the one for whom we are working without thought of ourselves.
d. We are called to do this cheerfully, thankfully, industriously, always seeking God’s glory.
e. We are called to do this in obedience to God, for He is the One Whom we serve.
2. And we are called to do this in this way because we must let our light shine before men.
a. This light is the light of God’s grace in our hearts.
b. And when that light shines, others will see the power of God’s grace.
c. And they will glorify our Father Who is in heaven. Mt. 5:14-16.