Note: this article was written for the fall edition of Lutheran Life. It was written before COVID-19 was a worry for the world. As we are now in this new time of social distancing, working from home, and canceled events, consider how you live out your vocations under your own roof.
As you consider your vocations, it’s appropriate to start with where you live—right in your very living room. Take a moment to consider whom you live with. Perhaps a spouse, child, parent, or friend. What are practical ways you can love and serve those under the same roof?
Vocational work at home means recognizing the role you play in your family unit. Your very presence in this home holds the potential for you to carry out the good works God has prepared for you to do right here.
What Does “Vocation” Mean?
It means being generous when your brother wants the last cookie and considerate when your housemate picks the movie. It means being patient when your child is behind on doing the laundry and slow to speak when your spouse just needs you to sit and listen. It means keeping family members in your prayers and encouraging them in the faith.
Sometimes, though, we might think our vocation—especially at home—is not as important or significant as another vocation outside the home. Don’t believe those lies!
Luther consistently lifts up familial vocations to equal significance (if not of greater significance!) as those of seemingly holier or more socially appealing vocations.
“Every person surely has a calling. While attending to it he serves God. A king serves God when he is at pains to look after and govern his people. So do the mother of a household when she tends her baby, the father of a household when he gains a livelihood by working, and a pupil when he applies himself diligently to his studies. …Therefore, it is a great wisdom when a human being does what God commands and earnestly devotes himself to his vocation without taking into consideration what others are doing.”*
But what if I’m …
A Single Person?
Whether you physically live with others or not, you are connected to a family unit. Who are the members of your family, whether by blood or by choice? Who has God put in your life to walk alongside? Lean into these relationships, recognizing the value you play in one another’s lives.
Thinking about those around you and feeling short on meaningful connections? Talk to your pastor or other church workers about ways you can more intentionally serve members of your church family.
A Stay-at-Home Parent?
Martin Luther exclaims, “But this at least all married people should know. They can do no better work and do nothing more valuable either for God, for Christendom, for all the world, for themselves, and for their children than to bring up their children well.”**
The people to serve are right in front of you: the screaming infant and messy toddler, the budding adolescent and the growing scholar. You have the incredible work of guiding a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). What an opportunity to nurture your children in the faith!
What an honor to see your children now parent their own children. What a joy to build relationships with your grandchildren! How can you best serve your adult children as they parent? How can you best serve your grandchildren as they grow and learn?
Your role in their lives matters. Your silent prayers for them matter. Your faithful example of a person committed to life in Christ matters—so much. Stay the course. God has work for you to do here.
Resist the temptation to compare the vocational work you’ve been given to that of others. Rather, joyfully go about these callings at home, knowing you are carrying out the work God has given you to do. You are where you are supposed to be.
Dig into your role in the world with the Vocations edition of Lutheran Life.
*Quotation from The Calling by Kurt Senske, copyright © 2010 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission of Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
**Quotation from Wherever Love May Lead: Your Place in God’s Plan by Catherine Duerr, copyright © 2019 Catherine Duerr. Used by permission of Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.