Gene Edward Veith Jr’s book, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life is one I will be recommending a lot to friends (I finished the book on Monday and have recommended it twice already this week). It’s not a long book, and not overly technical. Instead, Veith offers and accessibly and liberating look into the doctrine of Christian vocation.
I’ve read several of Veith’s books, including State of the Arts: From Bezalel to Mapplethorpe and Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, but this one is the best I’ve read.
Most of us probably think of vocation in terms of career. Veith reminds us that vocation is much more than what we do to ‘bring home the bacon’, though, of course, it is that too. We have vocations (yes plural) in our families – I am called to be a husband, father, son, brother, grandson, etc. We also have our vocations within society – I’m an American, a voter, a taxpayer, a neighbor, etc. Then there is our vocations in the church. And, of course, there is our vocation as workers.
Veith explains why this doctrine was so important to the Reformers, especially Luther. He writes in the introduction, “The doctrine of vocation amounts to a comprehensive doctrine of the Christian life, having to do with faith and sanctification, grace and good works. It is a key to Christian ethics. It shows how Christians can influence their culture. It transfigures ordinary, everyday life with the presence of God” (17).
If you’re a college student wondering how to choose a vocation, read this book. If you’re forty and in the work force, but disillusioned by the monotony of the daily grind, read this book. If you’re a stay at home mom looking to find some significance in the tedium of raising small children, read this book. If you’re in the church, or in society, you got it, read this book. (I think that covers everyone).