Thursday, May 9, 2013

Work and Calling

Bradley Birzer's J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth speaks of work and calling: "Tolkien's myth echoes Christian teaching in that once one accepts one's specific calling or vocation and employs one's gifts for the good of the Body of Christ, the journey of sanctification"(70). C.S. Lewis said something similar in one of his letters. Lewis asserted that God uses our vocation to shape us. The idea of calling is very strong in The Lord of the Rings. Frodo is called or chosen to destroy the ring. In addition, Birzer states, "As each agent responds to his calling he grows in power and grace" (70).

Billy Graham in a recent book, Nearing Home, also speaks of work and calling. He speaks of different stages of life. As we get older we must slow down. As we grow older we realize we cannot do certain things that we did earlier in our life. This is very true. Elton Trueblood, in his book, The Teacher agrees: "There will, undoubtedly, be diminution of energy, some dimming of eyesight, and, for nearly all older person, arthritic pain" (128). In other words, we must adapt to a different stage of life. Trueblood advises us: "Since old age normally cannot be avoided, the path of wisdom is to face it with expectancy" (128).

I think it is too late in old age to prepare for old age. It is something we must understand before and prepare for it. It is helpful to think of life as stages or seasons. There are stages of youth, middle age, and old age. Old age does not mean we stop being useful. We just do things differently. This should make a difference on how we look at work and calling.

Vocation and calling is broader than our current job. Just because we retire from a job does not mean we retire from our calling. Our callings and vocation can change at different stages of life. It is important to develop the gifts and callings God has given us to love God and serve our neighbor.

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