1 Corinthians 7:24
Brothers, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
I want to take the general principle Paul lays down here and draw from it some lessons which I think it plainly teaches.
1. In the first place, then, we learn that our daily work may be work to which we are divinely called. Now that: is not how many men think of their work. We may admit that the prophet, the reformer, or the patriot receive their calling from above — that a John Knox, a Joan of Arc, were called to their vocations in life; but to most people it seems a little ridiculous to say that a painter, a sailor, a manufacturer, or merchant has been called by God to do the work he is doing. The reason we think this is, I suppose, because of the hard definition we make between the sacred and the secular. That distinction should not by any means be an absolute distinction. In the tabernacle, in the Jewish temple, there was a "holy" and a "holy of holies," and yet they were both under the same roof, and formed part Of the great Temple of God; and so it is with the things we call sacred and the things we call secular. We must admit that much of God's work is what we would call secular. He makes the sun to shine, the rivers to flow, the grass to spring: and if God is interested in work like that, the man ought not to feel he is bemeaning himself if God calls upon him to be a fellow-labourer in the same vineyard. For instance, we talk of God supplying us with food. But when we come to ask how it is that the world is provided with its meat, we find that God calls in human agencies. The farmer who grows the grain, the miller who grinds it, and the baker who makes the bread, have all been called by God.
2. There is another great lesson to be drawn from this principle, and it is — if this be true we ought to have a plain call to the occupation we follow, because it must be admitted that every occupation is not a Divine occupation. Sometimes a man is engaged in a particular form of business which his conscience tells him is wrong; such a man cannot think he is Divinely called. Again, a young man may be employed in a business that is worked on wrong principles. Another man may be employed in quite an honest calling, yet for which he is unsuited — sometimes a square man gets into a round hole — and if he gets a change to a vocation he likes, he should take the opportunity and enter into the calling he really cares for. How does God call upon us? Well, sometimes He gives us a bias for a special business. Another way in which God's guiding hand comes in is in our outward circumstances, because we must remember these circumstances are shaped by God's own hand, and sometimes our way is made pretty clear by circumstances alone. Another way in which God's voice can be heard is in the advice of our friends, and we ought to take the advice of those who can look at our character and work from a different standpoint than that we ourselves occupy. And now let me say this — that we should all choose our calling in the full light of the Word of God, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Then we must remember prayer. Remember that more things are done by prayer than people think of; that if we lift up our voices in prayer for guidance, that guidance will come. Again, I would remark that when we have received our calling we should abide in it. "Let every man abide in the calling wherewith he is called." No doubt, the statement might be twisted into a wrong meaning. It might be said that this was an advocacy of the great fallacy that whatever is, is right, teaching that man should have no aspirations after better things. Christianity is something that has the principle of revolution in it; and yet though Christianity has the revolutionary principle inside of it, it does not make its followers revolutionists. And now in the last place we are taught that, abiding in our callings, we should therein abide with God. It matters not what your duties are, however common, however merely secular, do them as under your great Master's eyes.
(J. C. Lambert.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.