Reading Reflection:

God at Work, Gene Edward Veith, Jr. (Crossway, 2002) Do you ever feel like you could do more for God if only you didn’t have to work in that pesky job of yours? Do you get frustrated about how much time you spend doing secular work? Sometimes I long to retreat from my household chores and responsibilities to others to spend more time in my Bible. We all know that it is certainly a good thing to spend more time in God’s word, but do we truly value God’s purpose for us in the world? The Reformation recovered the doctrine of vocation, and the value of the ordinary person in their different vocations, whether as a mother, a brother, a bus driver, or a doctor. In our vocations, we are not trying to earn our salvation by our upstanding service, but as Christians we can serve our neighbors as we rest in the work of Christ. This knowledge comforts us even when we stumble in our service. Here is an excerpt from Veith’s book on this topic:
However much we sin in and against our vocations—and we sin a great deal—God is at work in them. It is God’s love that is active in vocation, and though we may try to thwart it in our sinfulness, and though we make ourselves obstacles to God’s will, He works in what we do despite ourselves. “Even persons who have not taken the gospel to their hearts serve God’s mission, though they be unaware thereof,” says Wingren, “by the very fact that they perform the outer functions of their respective stations.” But those who have received the Gospel have the joyous confidence that their access to God does not depend on either their works or their sins, but on the free gift of Jesus Christ. Christians, by faith, can know that God is working in them and through them. As Luther tells the servant girl, if she can be made to realize the truth about vocation, she “would dance for joy and praise and thank God…with her careful work, for which she receives sustenance and wages, she would obtain a treasure such as those who are regarded as the greatest saints do not have.” “How could you be more blessed or lead a holier life,” he asks her. “In God’s sight it is actually faith that makes a person holy; it alone serves God, while our works serve people. Here you have every blessing, protection, and shelter under the Lord, and, what is more, a joyful conscience and a gracious God” (“Large Catechism,” 406-407) (p. 141-142).
For some reason, we have reverted to feeling guilty or less spiritual when we work in the common sphere. So today, I will try to clean my toilets with joy from this encouragement, thankful for the opportunity to serve my family.