One of Martin Luther’s most important contributions to the life of the Church is his understanding of Christian vocation. A vocation, or “calling,” is what is given to each of us as children of God, “called” to follow Jesus Christ.
Our vocations include work, personal relationships, civic involvement, our roles as citizens and members of congregations, our lives as students, and our responsibility to help each other (all those God calls us to love).
Unlike those denominations, churches, and clergy who would have us believe that only pastors and priests are “called,” or that theirs is a “higher calling,” Luther understood that two of God’s greatest gifts are his “call” to us to love one another; and the diversity of gifts, skills, talents, and interests with which he blesses his daughters and sons.
Each of us has important work to do. Each of has opportunity to bless another, and to be blessed by another. Each of us “has something to offer.” And as our skills, resources, life situations, and the needs of our neighbors change, so might the specifics of our vocation. That too is part of God’s working in our lives.
Discipleship, stewardship, servanthood, bearing our cross–these are all synonyms for our vocations. This understanding of vocation is the other reason I told the young waiter, that I prefer to be Lutheran.