Vocatology, or the theology of work

Career

Vocatology is my newly invented word. It means, the study or science of vocation. I’m surprised it or a word like it doesn’t seem to exist yet. Maybe there’s a good reason it doesn’t exist. Vocatalogy seems like a difficult word to pronounce. I may have even spelled it wrong.

In any case, maybe “Theology of Work” is a better term for the topic I’d like to explore.  In particular, I’d like to talk about what the Bible says about work.

It turns out, it says a lot. This morning I was reading 2 Chronicles 13:10 and came across these words relating to work:

Minister and service

King Abijah commends the sons of Aaron (no relation intended) for their daily ministry and service. Now we sometimes think of religious stuff involving clergy and robes and funny looking hats when it comes to the word ministry. But here’s what ministry means: attending to the needs of someone or provide something helpful.

The sons of Aaron didn’t have a glamorous job. It says in 2 Chronicles 13:11 that they:

  • butchered animals to barbecue (burnt offerings)
  • baked bread
  • lit candles

They did this everyday. Sure, barbecuing and baking are fun, but I’m sure the lighting the candles part got old now and then. Yet, it was a ministry to the LORD. It’s interesting that they’re ministering to the LORD, and not just the people, because how can the LORD need anything and how can we provide something helpful to Him?

For the sons of Aaron, their work seems to be obviously God-glorifying in these ways:

  • The burnt offering were pointing the people forward to Jesus, the perfect offering, who would absorb the burning flame of God’s just anger against our disobedience.
  • The baked bread pointed to Jesus, who saved us so we would enjoy friendship and intimacy as people enjoy each other around the meal table.
  • The lit candles pointed also to Jesus, who is the light of the World, who shows us the way so we don’t grope and wander in darkness.

Hoorah for the sons of Aaron! What a great ministry!

Now, what about me? How do I minister to the LORD in my work? I honestly don’t see much pointing people to Jesus in my daily duties.

Well, that’s what I want to explore.