Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
When people hear the word vocation, they may think of a trade, a profession, a career. Hardly anybody stops to think that the word vocation is a word that means calling, and those that do don’t give much thought as to who it is who does the calling.
Scripture says that we are called by the Lord.
And in Scripture, to be called by the Lord is about something more than our careers. Being Christian is a vocation. So is being a husband, a wife, a child. Each of us has many vocations. In whatever godly role you find yourself in life, you have been called by God to do it. It is your vocation.
In today’s verse, we see Christians singing hymns and giving thanks in every circumstance. We see husbands and wives living in harmony, children obeying their parents in everything. We see employees doing their job with a sincere heart. It’s a beautiful picture of the Christian life, but is that how our lives actually look?
Look around at the Christians you know, and what do you see? Husbands and wives sometimes take each other for granted. They argue about little things; they argue about big things. Children at times try to get out from under their parents’ watchful eye, so they can do their own thing. Employees have been known to gossip about each other, about their boss. Even among Christians, the better you get to know someone, the better you know their faults, their flaws, their sins. And who do you know better than you know yourself? Look at yourself, and what do you see? Every single role we have is one we’ve failed to carry out. You name it: husband, wife, child, employee, citizen, church member, friend, sister, brother. We don’t serve the way we should. We don’t love as well as we should.
Because of our sin, there is something frightening about the doctrine of vocation. We all know that sinking feeling that comes with our failures to love and serve others, and that’s bad enough. But now add to that: we are called by God to do these things. It’s not just other people we’ve sinned against. We’ve sinned against him. He’s called us to do these things, and we haven’t done them.
But not every call from God is a call to do something. In fact the most important call from God is the one that involves us doing absolutely nothing at all. In Colossians 3 Paul says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” Did you hear it? We -- who fail in everything we do -- were called to receive the peace of Christ. How can this be? We're told in Colossians 2: “When you were dead in your sins…, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross" (v.13-14).
Friend, you have peace with God, because your debt of sin has been nailed to the cross of Jesus! In Baptism, you who were dead in your sin have been made alive in Christ. God has called you to faith, and he has declared you to be holy in his eyes.
Not only that, but he has declared the work you do to be holy, too. Does the apostle Paul’s inspired picture in today’s reading seem unrealistic? Husbands and wives living in perfect harmony, children obeying their parents in everything, employees doing their job with a sincere heart? Think again! This is how God actually sees his believers through faith in Christ. This is how God sees you and me. It is your vocation, your calling to be at peace with God through faith in Jesus, and he has covered everything you do in his robe of righteousness.
So dear Christian, since you are at peace with God, live out each vocation God has assigned to you. Be the Christian that you are. Forgiven in Christ, let the word of Christ dwell richly in you. And since you are at peace with God, embrace every other vocation you have from God, whatever your role in life, at work, and in the world. In each of your vocations, he’s going to bless you and others through you, through Jesus your Savior.
For saints ("holy ones!") of God, forgiven in Christ, vocation is a wonderful word. So much of what we do seems so ordinary, and it may seem like what we’re doing doesn’t matter. Would it be easier to handle the trouble and sorrow in your life if you could hear angels singing hymns of comfort in your ears? You have something better. You’ve been called by God. In every single one of your vocations, God is getting his work done through you.
Devotion by Pastor Jon Zabell
Copyright (c) 2022, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI 54301
Bible text, NIV (c) Biblia, 2011