"God at Work"

Title: God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life

Author: Gene Edward Veith Jr.

Thoughts: We decided to read this book for our midweek conversation at church. The topic seemed interesting to a number of us so I went into this book with some excitement. As I read through the first two chapters, I was still interested to see how the author was going to unpack this idea of “vocation.”

“The priesthood of all believers” did not make everyone into church workers; rather, it turned every kind of work into a sacred calling. (19)

Yes, I can get behind that idea. Tell me more…

It should also be emphasized that God is working even through those who do not know Him. (33)

For sure! This speaks to part of my understanding of God’s prevenient grace. From this point on, I found the book to become confusing at best and redundant at worst. The author seems to suggest there is a difference between “calling” and “vocation” but then uses these two words interchangeably.

Our vocation is not something we choose for ourselves. It is something to which we are called. (47)

Our calling comes from outside ourselves. (55)

If I cannot get a job in a particular field, at least not yet, that must not be my calling. (55)

Not only was I starting to get confused on the author’s use of certain terms, I was also starting to struggle with his theological bent toward predestination, or this idea that one’s “vocation” or “calling” was determined without the input, choice, or freedom that I believe God has given each individual.

That is the doctrine of vocation. Ordinary men and women expressing their love and service to their neighbor, “just doing our jobs.” (75)

Wait, so is vocation a doctrine, calling, choice, mandate, job? I appreciate the thought of unpacking vocation as a doctrine but I felt as though the author seemed to struggle to do so clearly, especially within the relationship of/to calling.

The author goes on to talk about specific callings: family, citizen, and church. Within each of these callings there are vocations: spouse, child, politician, volunteer, pastor, etc. It was in the later part of the book that I began to feel as though the author was struggling to come up with content to keep the book going and certainly to keep me engaged.

Final Grade: C+

Matt LipanComment