Four questions about calling

"Four questions about calling" Continued...

Issue: "Warrior class," Aug. 28, 2010

God has called each of us to a truly special kingdom usefulness, and a large part of that calling (not all of it) can intrinsically be found in our work. We need our pastors and missionaries, but we also need journalists, attorneys, mechanics, entrepreneurs (and even politicians). Every Christian should work toward the glory of God. We should maximize meaning and dignity in our own lives, feel the pleasure of the Creator in our work, achieve our monetary goals, and do so with a conviction that God has called us to the fields or areas in which we work.

Question to Marvin Olasky: Why is it important that the poor as well as the affluent work and have a calling?

Because God instituted work before the fall of man as one of the traits that separates man from the animals. If we lived by bread alone, it would be fine just to feed the poor: Treat them like pets, put some food in their bowls. Understanding that people are made in God's image means extending opportunities to work. Post-fall, work will often be hard for the affluent or for the poor: Through the institution of gleaning (see Deuteronomy 24:19-22) sojourners, widows, and orphans could get enough to eat, and some food to sell as well, but they had to journey to the corners of fields or climb trees.

Such effort built character and-as in the book of Ruth-allowed some to display character. This Old Testament understanding carried over into the New Testament, where Paul, who worked as a tentmaker, told the Thessalonians, "If a man shall not work, he shall not eat." He instructed slaves and employees to work not primarily to please man but to please God.

The early church supported elderly widows, but even they had to have a track record of volunteering their time to do good deeds for others. Early Christians displayed the same attitude by setting up a "three days rule" for new arrivals: three days of free housing and food, but after that they had to work. The goal was to have them use their talents to glorify God.

-with reporting by Kiley Humphries


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