Bishop's Letter: Living Your Vocation

“The prince should think: Christ has served me and made everything to follow him; therefore, I should also serve my neighbor, protect him and everything that belongs to him. That is why God has given me this office, and I have it that I might serve him. That would be a good prince and ruler. When a prince sees his neighbor oppressed, he should think: That concerns me! I must protect and shield my neighbor....The same is true for shoemaker, tailor, scribe, or reader. If he is a Christian tailor, he will say: I make these clothes because God has bidden me do so, so that I can earn a living, so that I can help and serve my neighbor. When a Christian does not serve the other, God is not present; that is not Christian living.” —Martin Luther

What is a vocation?

I used to think that a vocation was some big thing. A one true grand calling in life with which we are somehow anointed. 

But as I reflect on this quote from Martin Luther during this season of Epiphany, I am reminded that this is not the case. 

Any work done in faith can be a vocation. We are all made holy through baptism in Christ to do holy work. 

So everyday tasks of the Christian like changing diapers or cleaning the floors, or caring for an aging family member, volunteering with the Scouts, caring for one in hospice, creating a home filled with laughter, deliberating about which candidate to vote for—are tasks to which we are called.

Being faithful in your duties at home or work, or in whatever way you respond to God – YOU have a calling, a vocation as a follower of Jesus. Jesus has set you free to serve God and neighbor.

These vocations are as important as being a bishop or CEO or brain surgeon.

There is precious little in our life that can't be a place where God is at work healing, comforting, and restoring, when we look at it this way.

You, my dear brothers and sisters are saints. YOU get to complete the miracles placed on your paths. And while you are about that work, from time to time you will get glimpses of the Holy City that is written about in Revelation. We who are yet walking by faith live in hope and trust of God’s word that there will be no more death. No more mourning or crying or pain. Where all things will be made new.

Two Assignments: As you do your tasks—phone calls, errands, whatever work you are called to this day—repeat this is holy work. And, for extra credit—remind someone else that they are doing holy work. You may discover that in sharing those words God will use you to bring new life.


The Rev. Deborah K. Hutterer
Grand Canyon Synod of the ELCA