William Tyndale was a visionary and Christian activist, who by the beginning of the 16th century saw the need for a translation of the Bible in the English vernacular, a radical idea for his culture. Tyndale longed for everyday Christians to have access to God’s word in a time in which the only people who could read the Bible were scholars and priests, those who had a knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, or Latin. But the Catholic Church thought otherwise, opposing Tyndale’s translation work, martyring him in 1536. As a summary of his life’s mission, Tyndale is quoted as saying,
”I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that drives the plough to know more of the Scripture, than he does.”
Tyndale proposed that a knowledge of the Bible was as much the right of the farm boy as the Pope, prelate, or monk. This thinking, biblical at its base, drove the Protestant Reformation to not only produce Bible translations in many languages but also to assert Tyndale’s ideas about Bible translation in the area of calling and vocation as well. A part of what is called the “Protestant work ethic” recovers for the church the idea that all work, when done to the glory of God, is equally glorifying to God. The pastor and the plumber not only have access to the same Bible but glorify the same God in their particular work to the same degree.
It is for this reason that every Christian should look at his station and calling in life with joy and contentment, rejecting the grass is always greener or I could serve God better if… kind of thinking that saps the life and joy out of Christian vocation. Today, you are doing the work that God has called you to do whether you are a homemaker or C-level executive. Consider at least four contributions that every Christian vocation makes to the mission of God.
- Calling and Evangelism - Every calling or vocation places the Christian in relationships with others who may or may not be Christians, whether those relationships are with toddlers or the receptionist on a sales cold-call. By diligent work and sharing the gospel, every Christian commends the gospel to those who are not Christians yet.
- Calling and Generosity - Every calling is a means to grow wealth as an individual or as a family. Financial prosperity is a good thing. The more a person or family can accrue the more they possess to meet their needs and to support their church and other ministries.
- Calling and Skills - Every calling allows the Christian to gain skills and experience. Those skills and experiences are helpful inside and outside of the particular calling that requires them. The Christian, who makes a living as an auto mechanic, can also use those skills as a deacon to service the cars of widows in his congregation.
- Calling and Culture - Your calling also makes an impact on the culture in which you are a part. That impact may be at the neighborhood level, community level, city level, or even the world level. The work you do, done to the glory of God with excellence, makes the world a better place and so glorifies the God who called you into that area of influence.
Far from being secular or possibly meager, every Christian calling is shaped by God for maximum kingdom impact. The real danger is when a Christian misses the impact she is making, robbed of the joy that comes from serving in God’s kingdom exactly where God desires. Don’t let that be you. Let your joy and work abound to the glory of Jesus.