The story is told about a young man who flunked out of seminary after only one semester. He lacked even a single passing grade in all his classes, and his worst performance was Preaching 101, where his professor stated “in 25 years of teaching the subject he had never heard such bad sermons.” Obviously, the young man did not have the right stuff to be the Pastor of a congregation.
The president of the seminary sat down with the student to encourage and counsel. The student, however, protested to the president,
“This can’t be, because I had a direct and clear call from Jesus.”
“What do you mean?” The president asked.
The student’s answer, “I was driving a tractor one day, and I looked up and saw the letters P.C. written across the sky. That was a sign to get off the tractor, leave farming behind, and Preach Christ.”
The president said, “perhaps the letters didn’t mean Preach Christ, but Plant Corn.”
There is a mind-set in the church that a calling from God separates clergy (vocational ministers) from laity (regular Christians). In other words, God may call someone to preach Christ but not to plant corn. Scripture, however, indicates that all of God’s people are called and all vocations can be a calling.
Farmers, nurses, accountants, stay-at-home parents, teachers, carpenters, youth directors, police officers – all may be called by God to their particular vocation. So, we can say that the baker preparing fresh bread is on equal footing with the pastor preparing a sermon. Almost all work is dignified, valuable, pleasing to God and ordained by God.
Our “secular” vocations, Martin Luther said, are like “masks” God wears in caring for the world. “When we pray the Lord’s Prayer,” he said, “we ask God to ‘give us this day our daily bread.’ And how does God answer that prayer?” He does so, Luther said, “by means of the farmer who planted and harvested the grain, the baker who made the flour into bread, the person who prepared our meal. All these are in play when God answers our prayer for daily bread.” (Thoughts from writer J. D. Greear)
The devil would like us to believe that God only calls pastors, missionaries and full time vocational church workers; God does not call people to be good farmers. Not true. Celebrate your call, do excellent work and reflect God in the work you do.
And remember that even if you are not called to preach Christ, you are called to do the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). That’s our big calling.
Join us this weekend at Gateway as we learn more about Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, to respond to His call.