God at Work by Gene Edward Veith. Crossway, 176 pages. 2011
The author states that this book is an exposition of the doctrine of vocation and an attempt to apply that doctrine in a practical way to our life in the twenty-first century. He states that he was helped significantly by Gustaf Wingren’s book Luther on Vocation.
In this book he first looks at the nature of vocation: the purpose of vocation, how to find our vocation, how God calls us to different tasks and how He is present in what we do in our lives. Then he looks at specific vocations (as a worker, in the family, as a citizen, in the church), and specific problems common to them all.
The author states that according to the Protestant Reformers, each Christian has multiple vocations. In addition, we may hold multiple vocations with each type of vocation. In addition, our callings can change. He writes that Luther’s approach to vocation is that instead of seeing vocation as a matter of what we do in our vocations, he emphasizes what God does in and through our vocations.
He tells us that in the medieval church having a vocation or a “calling” referred exclusively to full-time church work. The Reformers however, insisted that priests, nuns and monastics did not have a special claim to God’s favor, but that laypeople could also live the Christian life to its fullest.
He tells us that in our vocations we are not just serving God, but also other people. The purpose of vocation is to love and serve our neighbor. He offers helpful questions such as:
- How does my calling serve my neighbor?
- Who are my neighbors in my particular vocation?
- How can I serve them with the love of God?
He writes that finding our vocations has to do in part with finding our God-given talents (what we do), and our God-given personality (what fits the person we are).
I found much of value in helping me to understand the doctrine of vocation in this relatively short book.