Guest Post by Josh Blount
Please raise your hand if you’ve ever prayed “Give us this day our daily bread” and looked up to find a warm slice of Pepperidge Farm waiting on your plate.
Yeah, me either.
So does God answer that prayer, and if so, how? Gene Edward Veith, in his excellent book God At Work, gives Martin Luther’s answer to that question. God does provide us our daily bread, Luther argued, but not through supernaturally placing each meal on our plate. God gives us our daily bread by calling farmers, bakers, and grocers to their respective vocations – and as each one fulfills their calling, God provides for his creation through human hands. The doctrine of vocation (the idea that God calls and gifts people for specific jobs) was in Luther’s mind the way that God provided not only bread but a myriad of gifts and necessities to the human race. In essence, says Luther, work is one way we love our neighbor.
Chances are that within 24 hours of reading this post you will have gone to work or interacted with someone who is working to provide you a service. When the barista at Starbucks hands you your eggnog latte, thank them and thank God, recognizing his hand is behind every human vocation, as in his common grace he cares for a fallen creation with generosity and creativity. And remember Luther’s doctrine of vocation when you start your own work day tomorrow morning. Whether your job is brewing coffee, playing music, or building homes, by faithfully working at your job you’re part of the way that God blesses and provides for men and women made in his image. Your 9-5 job is a way to obey Jesus’ command to love your neighbor!
And that just might be more amazing than an instant slice of buttered bread.