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Tuesday
Jun072011

Theological Term of the Week

vocation, doctrine of
The teaching that all labor is a divine calling and a means by which God works his providential care for creation, so that all work has meaning as service to Christ; the teaching that all of life submitted to God is sacred and all honest work is holy.

  • From scripture: 

    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

    28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” … 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-28, 31 ESV).

  • From Living for God’s Glory by Joel Beeke:1 
    Reformed teachings regarding work can be summarized in the following points: 

    1. God works, and we are called to bear His image.
    2. God derives satisfaction from His work.
    3. God provides for us through our work. 
    4. God has commanded man to work, and to work within the framework of His commands.
    5. God holds us accountable for our work and expects to be acknowledged through it. 
    6. God provides particular gifts designed to meet particular needs in the advancement of His kingdom.
    7. The fall radically affected our work. Work becomes toil; thorns and thistles frustrate our efforts; fallen man seeks to glorify himself rather than his Creator through work.
    8. Work is an individual as well as a social activity.
    9. God takes pleasure in beauty, and the Scriptures do not focus simply on the functional and utilitarian aspects of work.
    10. Christ worked as part of His active obedience, and the believer’s work through Christ is part of obedience.

Learn more:

  1. Gene Edward Veith: The Doctrine of Vocation
  2. Gene Edward Veith: Our Calling and God’s Glory
  3. Aaron Armstrong: Your Work Is Your Calling
  4. Tim Keller: Vocation: Discerning Your Calling
  5. Stan Reeves: The Spirituality of Work
  6. Jerram Barrs: Work: A Holy Calling 
  7. J. I. Packer: 3 Short Videos on Vocation
  8. Dr. Robert S. Rayburn: Theology of Work Sermons (transcripts and mp3s)

Related terms:

Filed under Anthropology.

1The chapter from which this is taken is written by Ray Pennings.

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Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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Reader Comments (1)

I have read Veith's book God at Work, which talks about vocation in depth. I really learned a lot.

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim Shay

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