By Edna Hong, Bright Valley of Love, copyright 1976, Augsburg Publishing House, pages 98-9
In his next (confirmation) class Pastor Wilm picked up the subject of what’s a guy to do with himself when he’s no longer just a boy.
“Tell me,” he asked, “what do you think is the best work, the truest calling?”
“To be a minister or a missionary,” several answered at once.
Pastor Wilm chuckled. “Many people think so, especially ministers and missionaries. But God has different ideas, and I suspect that sweeping streets and mopping floors is just as good and true.”
“A soldier,” said Wolfgang.
“A mother,” said Minna.
“No,” answered Pastor Wilm. “You may name all the jobs under the sun, and I will still say No. I believe with Paul and with Martin Luther that the true calling for us human beings is to glorify God, to glorify him in spirit, mind, and body. Whatever we do with our lives, our first and foremost task is to glorify God. On every piece of music Johann Sebastian Bach composed he wrote, ‘To God alone the glory.’ Tell me now, what do you think of our friend Fränzchen?”
They all thought of Fränzchen, who drove a donkey cart up and down the streets of Bethel and collected garbage and swill for the pigs. Just about all he could say was “Pig swill! Pig swill!” And yet Fränzchen was always happy and cheerful. It made you feel good inside when he passed by.
“Fränzchen glorifies God,” came a voice from the back of the room.
“You bet he does!” said Pastor Wilm. “Fränzchen could go around feeling that life has cheated him, that he has an inferior, worthless body and mind, not even good enough for the scrap heap. But Fränzchen’s spirit knows that even with his afflicted mind and body he can glorify God. And because he does, brings joy to everyone he meets. To see Fränzchen makes me love Jesus Christ all the more.”
The work of a Beethoven and the work of a charwoman become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly “as to the Lord.” This does not, of course, mean that it is for anyone a mere toss-up whether he should sweep rooms or compose symphonies. A mole must dig to the glory of God and a cock must crow. We are members of one body, but differentiated members, each with his own vocation. –C. S. Lewis, page 26, Weight of Glory
A man can be as truly a saint in a factory as in a monastery, and there is as much need of him in the one as in the other. –Robert McCracken
No race can prosper until it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. –Booker T. Washington
If everybody contemplates theology instead of fixing the drains, many of us will die of cholera.
I Thessalonians 4:11 — Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you.
Galatians 6:9-10 — Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Colossians 3:23-24 — Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Those things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us thy grace to labor for. Amen.
–Sir Thomas More (d. 1535)