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From the editor
It’s not uncommon for the thought to flit across your mind, occupying your attention for more than just a few moments throughout the day. Undoubtedly, it happens when you are most frustrated, most tired, most sick of the work to which the Lord has put you.
“Is this as good as life gets?” you wonder. “Isn’t there something grander, more impressive that I should be doing? I never dreamed my life of teaching preschoolers/fixing computers/pouring concrete would turn out this way.”
But it’s in those weak moments that the Lutheran understanding of vocation kicks into high gear. As “Leveling the Field” author Edie Wadsworth — a doctor who left her practice to raise her family — reminds us, “God hides Himself in your vocation, so that all the service you render to your neighbor is sacred, because it is God at work through you, meeting the needs of the neighbor.”
That means that teaching preschoolers, fixing computers and pouring concrete is the way in which the Lord uses you to care for those around you. Suddenly, the realization that God has set you to this work and that He is using you in a specific, real way makes that work much grander and more impressive than it did only moments ago!
In this issue, we’ll take a 360 look at vocation—and what some of those vocations are, everything from church work to parenting! Teens will discover in the Rev. Randy Wurschmidt’s “#makeadifference” that finding a college major or choosing a job isn’t difficult when you “do what you do in faith — with love toward your neighbor, not for your glory, but to the glory of God.” The Rev. Paul Mumme’s “Persecuted but Not Forsaken” reminds us to pray for our church workers whose vocation puts them on the receiving end of persecution from the world.
“God Is with You,” by Deaconess Cheryl D. Naumann, tells us that “by loving our neighbor we are loving and serving God Himself,” and the Rev. Peter C. Bender works us through Luther’s understanding of vocation — as outlined in the Small Catechism’s “Table of Duties” — in “More Than a Job.”
Writing to parents and church workers who spend time for youth, the Rev. Andrew Yeager’s “Finding Your Identity” reminds us that “Instead of asking youth what they want to be when they grow up, afford them comfort by reminding them what they already are: baptized,” and Jeni Miller’s “Serving the Church” chart outlines a variety of vocations that are found right here within our church body!
Your work may be tedious. It may not be glamorous. Some days it may be the last place you want to be. But your vocation is the way in which the Lord is at work in and through you, caring for your family, your friends, your community, even those you don’t even know.
So when the work is hard and you start to wonder if this is as good as life gets, let’s stop just long enough to ask one another Edie’s favorite question: “Who is my neighbor, and how can I meet his needs?”
Adriane Heins, Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness