A God of All Trades

Set on simmer in my mind for some time now, has been the question of the Christian life for “normal” people.

Perhaps it’s easy to imagine what the Christian life might look like for those who are firmly committed to the life and work of the church, those who commit themselves, vocationally, to church or parachurch ministries.  The increase of God’s Kingdom in our lives, we imagine, results in more people in church, more people coming to know Christ, more powerful worship, more people committing themselves to the service of the church, etc.

It doesn’t take mental gymnastics, however, to consider what might actually happen if everyone actually did commit themselves to the service of the church.  We’d have fewer people left to grow food, build homes, sell clothes, etc.  In short, our worlds would fall apart.

So I have this question.  What does the Kingdom of God look like for the bank teller as a bank teller?  What would it mean for the landscaper to grow more into the image of Christ as a landscaper?  How might the Lord’s increased influence in a biochemist’s life affect her work as a biochemist?  Or insert yourself and your vocation into the question.  What might it look like for you to partner intimately with the Lord in what you do on a daily basis?

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4 thoughts on “A God of All Trades

  1. Good question! I suspect we are all too quick to label Christian living as only doing church. Christ died to set us free to live and enjoy life without fear of death and judgement. Perhaps this is one of the topics Ecclesiastes offers insight on: live life and enjoy it. Fear God and serve him. (paraphrase).

  2. A modern Catholic saint, Josemaria Escriva, was obsessed with this very question … In the “hidden life” of Jesus in Nazareth, as a simple tradesman, Josemaria saw the inspiration for a whole “theology of work” as a way for ordinary Christians to participate in Christ’s redemptive mission. Moreover, he saw the redemptive work of Christ not only at Calvary but also in his carpenter’s workshop in Nazareth. Josemaria constantly taught that the “sanctification of work” was the way to holiness for the vast majority of Christians. It’s a really interesting (and challenging) perspective.

    Here’s one of his most famous homilies:

    http://www.opusdei.us/art.php?p=12476

  3. I can’t help myself, gotta post the money quote:

    “When a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you repeatedly, and hammered away once and again on the idea that the Christian vocation consists of making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and earth seem to merge on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives.”

    1. Escriva strikes me as the Nouwen-type, whom I enjoy. I think I like broadly where he’s going, though it seems Escriva could be easily tucked away in private, mystical faith categories. Then again, I may simply not know him well enough.

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