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God at Work (Redesign): Your Christian Vocation in All of Life Paperback – August 2, 2011
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About the Author
Gene Edward Veith (PhD, University of Kansas) serves as the provost and professor of literature at Patrick Henry College, where he also oversees both academic affairs and student affairs. He previously worked as the culture editor of World magazine. Veith and his wife, Jackquelyn, have three grown children and seven grandchildren.
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In this book he first looks at the nature of vocation: the purpose of vocation, how to find our vocation, how God calls us to different tasks and how He is present in what we do in our lives. Then he looks at specific vocations (as a worker, in the family, as a citizen, in the church), and specific problems common to them all.
The author states that according to the Protestant Reformers, each Christian has multiple vocations. In addition, we may hold multiple vocations with each type of vocation. In addition, our callings can change. He writes that Luther’s approach to vocation is that instead of seeing vocation as a matter of what we do in our vocations, he emphasizes what God does in and through our vocations.
He tells us that in the medieval church having a vocation or a “calling” referred exclusively to full-time church work. The Reformers however, insisted that priests, nuns and monastics did not have a special claim to God’s favor, but that laypeople could also live the Christian life to its fullest.
He tells us that in our vocations we are not just serving God, but also other people. The purpose of vocation is to love and serve our neighbor. He offers helpful questions such as:
• How does my calling serve my neighbor?
• Who are my neighbors in my particular vocation?
• How can I serve them with the love of God?
He writes that finding our vocations has to do in part with finding our God-given talents (what we do), and our God-given personality (what fits the person we are).
I found much of value in helping me to understand the doctrine of vocation in this relatively short book.
Veith sets out to examine what is meant by vocation or calling. Too often, it seems, we are limited to thinking of our jobs as our vocation, though we all have a variety of vocations. For example, I hold the vocation of neuropsychologist, but I also hold vocations of husband, son, father, citizen, deacon. Veith explores how we live out our callings in each of the roles God has called us to. I particularly appreciated his chapters on "your calling as a citizen" and "bearing the cross in vocation." In the first case, understanding how we live as citizens of two kingdoms, how we submit to the governing authorities, and how we resist when necessary were all good and useful topics. His application of Luther's Theology of the Cross to vocation was also beneficial.
I would happily recommend this book to those interested in learning what does it mean to live as a Christian in the world.