Sermon, 11/15/2015

Nov. 15, 2015 – Stewardship Sunday Text: Colossians 3:23-24

Dear Friends in Christ,

Last year in March 2014 the Lutheran Witness focused their issue on the topic of vocation. It was filled with many wonderful articles on the subject. Today’s sermon is going to be built around some of their words and the words of our Lord from the Book of Colossians. Vocation is a topic we hear more and more about. It is perfect for Stewardship Sunday.
Edie Wadsworth is a recent convert to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I love her quote from the article, “Leveling The Field.” She writes, “I grew up in the wilderness of American evangelicalism. I did all the things young evangelicals do. I joined Young Life and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, got saved eight times…and even trained at the Tammy Faye Baker Institute for Heavily –Applied Eye Makeup. Like every good evangelical overachiever, I wanted to be a missionary and have six kids. And not just any country would do. The real Jesus followers go to Africa. Obviously.
“Fast forward 25 years, and none of those pious dreams came true. I didn’t go to Africa. I birthed a measly four kids (wimp), and I went to medical school instead of Bible College…And I’m wild about Lutheranism – actually down right annoyingly so. I’m so Lutheran that most Lutherans don’t get me. I read the Confessions, own most of Luther’s sermons…I became Lutheran seven years ago, which for me, was the spiritual equivalent of finding a large oasis in the desert. Of all the things I love about finding the historic Church, nothing puts spring in my step like the cool, clear water of the teaching on vocation.”
Like I have always said some of the best Lutherans are those who didn’t grow up in the church. They appreciate what we have instead of taking for granted what we have been given. How do you feel about vocation? Are you as excited as Mrs. Wadsworth? Do you even think about it? And what do we mean by vocation?
Ever since the Reformation Lutherans have emphasized the sanctity of marriage and family and the life of a citizen, worker or employer as being just as important as anyone who is a church worker. In the Large Catechism Luther even said changing a dirty diaper is holier than a monk joining a monastery. We are to engage in providing loving service to our neighbor, not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of our neighbor and out of our faith in Christ.
When we talk vocation we usually think of our job. That place where we toil for our wages. But just as important are the ordinary offices of husband, wife, father, mother, child, and citizen. We all have a vocation from the youngest to the oldest.
God’s will for you is to be saved. We have been blessed with everything that we need through Jesus life, death, and resurrection. We don’t do these things to please God. He is already pleased with Jesus sacrifice on our behalf, which means he sees us as those redeemed by Christ the crucified. Our vocation is a workshop of the Holy Spirit who is calling us to repentance and faith. Instead of becoming entangled in our self-righteous selves we look to the selfless Christ. His sacrifice on the cross has loosened this entanglement and given us freedom from sin to share His love and mercy with those around us.
How might this look? God has given you certain skills, abilities, blessings which allow you to serve your fellow man. God hides Himself in your vocation, so that the service you are giving to your neighbor is sacred, because it is really God at work through you.
Your everyday work is sacred in the eyes of our Lord. That toilet you cleaned yesterday for your family. Part of your vocation for Christ. That meal you helped to prepare and serve at the mission. You were the hands and feet and face of Christ in that place. You don’t need your name on a hospital or university building to be important. That note you sent to your son or daughter at college means more to them than sitting in Abercrombie Hall. That hug you gave your child was wrapped with more love than a building.
Our text spells it out beautifully, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Throw your soul into your vocation as if your one employer were the Lord.
May the Lord’s will for your life be to live out your various callings with love toward your neighbor. The Lord has already met all your needs through Christ your Savior. Serve the Lord brother and sister, serve the Lord!