Is There Hierarchy in Calling?
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it (1 Cor 12:27)."
All legitimate work matters to God. God Himself described himself as a worker. In fact, human occupations find their origin in His work to create the world. Work is a gift from Him to meet the needs of people and the creation. "You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas" (Ps 8:6-8).
However, there is often an unspoken hierarchy that positions clergy (missionaries and evangelists, pastors and clergy) at the top, and occupations such as of the "helping professions" (doctors and nurses, teachers and educators, social workers) next, and "secular" workers (business executives, salespeople, factory laborers, and farmers) at the bottom.
So what determines the spiritual value of a job? How does God assign significance? The hierarchy assumes sacred and secular distinctions, and assigns priority to the sacred. But does God view vocations that way? No, He does not.
God creates people to carry out specific kinds of work in order to meet human needs. God uniquely designs each of us, fitting us for certain kinds of tasks. He distributes skills, abilities, interests, and personalities among us so that we can carry out His work in the world. That work includes "spiritual" tasks, but also extends to health, education, agriculture, business, law, communication, the arts, and so on.
Paul was a tentmaker by occupation, along with his friends, Aquila and Priscilla. Other church leaders practiced a wide variety of professions and trades. There's no indication that God looks at vocations in the form of spiritual hierarchy.*
The next time you consider your vocation a second-class spiritual calling, consider what God says. Your work matters to God and is valued by God equally to other forms of work.
*Adapted from Study notes from the Word In Life Study Bible, copyright 1993,1996, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Adapted from Ministry in Daily Life study notes page for WIL bible.
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