Tuesday, June 23, 2009

 

Get A Job!

If there is a single problem that faces the church today it is the idea that Christian maturity = Christian ministry. Somehow we have come to think that if we are really growing as Christians, we have to be proclaiming the gospel somehow. There are two problems at the root of this as I see it. The first is Evangelicalism's lack of depth. When all there is is evangelism, then that's all your gonna get. The other is most individual's desire for attention and the fact that "preaching" seems to be a pretty good way to attract attention to yourself.

That is why I really appreciated Justin Taylor's link to a Gene Veith post on vocation.
Luther called vocation a "mask of God." He said that God milks the cows by means of the milkmaid. We see a menial worker and may even be so presumptuous to look down upon her, but behind that humble fa├žade looms God Himself, providing milk for His children.
Somehow the church has got to become big enough to recognize the valuable contribution of its milkmaids. Oh sure, we pay lip service to such ideas now, but it always seems to be in a smug, condensing way - "Glad your here, now please, go milk the cows quietly." Veith continues later:
Of course, we also sin in vocation -- insisting on being served rather than serving; loving ourselves rather than our neighbors; misusing the gifts and the calling God Himself has given us -- we come to Him on Sunday mornings in repentance, hearing God's Word, being built up in our faith. Whereupon God sends us back into our callings, with all of their trials and tribulations, for that faith to bear fruit in love, service, and sanctification.

One problem people often have with vocation -- that of others, as well as their own -- is that some vocations exercise authority. "There is no authority except from God," says the apostle Paul (Rom. 13:1). Strictly speaking, only God has authority in Himself. But as Romans 13 goes on to say, God exercises His authority through the agency of lawful government, punishing wrongdoers and rewarding those who do well, so as to make civil order possible.
Read that carefully - puts the shoe on the other foot if you think about it. Those whose role is authoritative have a special burden to humility, to making it plan and obvious that they operate not on their own, but of God. That is much easier for the milkmaid than it is for the pastor.

I think Jesus said something about the first being last?

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