Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Priority of Vocation

Imagine my surprise when I came across The Priority of Vocation post today!

"It's always nice when you find an author that agrees with you and this has been one of my pet projects for a while. Without attempting to rigorously document it, I will assert that there seems to have been a decided shift among Evangelicals in the past, say, 50 years attempting to replace the priority of vocation with the idea of relationship."

There IS someone besides me who has a sense that relationships have been over-emphasized.


Bonnie said...

Hi David,

It’s the way the discussion of relationship is being framed that doesn’t sit well with me. There is a false dichotomy being presented, and the term “relationship” is being used in far too general a manner.

Note that the two greatest commandments are these: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul; and love your neighbor as yourself. Certainly, this is both vocation and relationship. Jesus says, in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Loving relationship is to be distinguished from mere fellowship. I am certainly not an advocate for a church having a bunch of fellowship groups to the neglect of outreach and social justice. Indeed, fellowship can be – ought to be – built via Christians working alongside one another, not just sitting around the metaphorical campfire chatting or singing “kum-ba-ya.” (Though that has its place too.)

Another thing I mean by loving relationship is people helping one another to know God truly via true caring, help, and proper intimacy – investing their lives in others, for others. Using their gifts for the building up of the body. That’s vocation. Vocation cannot be carried out outside of proper relationship with God and others.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Bonnie,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a great comment.

Pastor Roberts has been making the point that relationship and vocation are intertwined similar to you. I think the way you make the point is very clear and succinct. I certainly agree with you.

However, I still think Pastors and most Christian speakers have been over-emphasizing the relationship half of the equation at the expense of the vocation half of the equation. I probably need to be careful to not reject all relationship teaching, but I just don’t know how much more I can take. Enough is enough.

God, please rapture me out of California! : -)