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Long For Truth: Bart Simpson and the Doctrine of Vocation

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bart Simpson and the Doctrine of Vocation

Several years ago I caught part of an episode of the Simpsons. The Simpson family was sitting at the table ready to have a meal. Bart Simpson was asked to pray. He bowed his head, closed his eyes and said, "Thanks for nothin God. We got this food ourselves."

I worked. I bought. I cooked.

Unfortunately, that's the way many people think. "I worked for the money to buy the food, then I went to the grocery store and bought the food, after that I cooked the food. So, why am I thanking God for the food?" Even Christians can fall into this way of thinking. We pray and thank God before each meal, but we often fail to see just how much God was involved in providing that meal for us.

God works through the ordinary

This is where the "doctrine of vocation" comes in. The word "vocation" comes from the Latin word for "calling." God calls people to their particular stations in life. He calls them to be farmers, truck drivers, teachers, factory workers, grocery clerks, police officers, fire fighters. All of these vocations are necessary for society to function, and God uses these vocations to provide, protect, and bless us.

Your job is your calling

Most people outside of the Christian Faith do not acknowledge that God has called them, but He has nonetheless. He is the One who gives them the skills and abilities to do the work that He has sovereignly placed them in- Acts 17:26 " And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,"

God at Work

So have you ever thought about all of the vocations involved in the breakfast you ate this morning? In his book God at Work, Gene Veith puts it like this:
"When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, observed Luther, we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. And He does give us our daily bread. He does it by means of the farmer who planted and harvested the grain, the baker who made the flour into bread, the person who prepared our meal. We might today add the truck drivers who hauled the produce, the factory workers in the food processing plant, the warehouse men, the wholesale distributors, the stock boys, the lady at the checkout counter. Also playing their part are the bankers, futures investors, advertisers, lawyers, agricultural scientists, mechanical engineers, and every other player in the nation’s economic system. All of these were instrumental in enabling you to eat your morning bagel."
"Though He could give it to us directly, by a miraculous provision, as He once did for the children of Israel when He fed them daily with manna, God has chosen to work through human beings, who, in their different capacities and according to their different talents, serve each other. This is the doctrine of vocation."

Sorry Bart

And this is why we can be genuinely thankful to God for the meal we are about to receive. Through the vocations of many different people, it truly was God who provided the breakfast you ate this morning. Sorry Bart.

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