When you come across something you’re really good at, then someone says to you, “It seems you’ve found your calling.” The disciples were “called” to follow Jesus. But that still left some question as to what their daily duties would entail. The disciples presumed their duties would be lofty and prestigious. Peter fancied himself to be Jesus’ bodyguard (Matthew 16:22, John 18:10). James and John, with their mother, were in a heated debate over the prestigious positions they would/should have in heaven.
The Reformation started as Luther’s stony and terrified heart was called to peace by the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17). This Gospel calling, though, has very immediate traction with everyday life – with vocation. To be called by the Gospel is first to be called into Jesus the Servant of sinners. Called to be beggars who receive His living and dying and rising as unmerited gifts. Our vocation of faith is as blessed beggars.
We are also called by the Gospel to love. The Bible calls us to love and serve God. But this is not as ambiguous as we often make it. When Jesus depicts such love and service, much to our surprise, He does not draw our eyes to high and lofty places. He points us to the ordinary and everyday needs of those around us, to whatever is done for our needy neighbor through us. Jesus says:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me… ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:35-36 & 40)
Christian Vocation – our calling to faith and love – is central to the Reformation. That means it’s central to our lives today, too. How right it is, then, for us to pray that through Jesus’ body and blood our Father would “strengthen us IN FAITH toward (Him) and in fervent LOVE toward one another” (ELH p. 83).
Reverend Kyle Madson
Editor, The Lutheran Sentinel
Norseland Lutheran Church, St. Peter, MN
Norwegian Grove Lutheran Church, Gaylord, MN