This time around I share a slightly longer thought on Vocation, as well as some delightful words from Martin Luther about marriage.
Malcolm Guite Portrait by Bruce Herman – Ordinary Saints
I have searched my notes and my memory, but I cannot seem to recall where I first heard this line:
The Bible has no regard for Empires. It seems to love Nations.
Whoever shared this with me is on to something, I think.
Especially if we think of Nations as geographically-based people groups, each with their own particular contribution to the world based on the culture and industry they have developed from the resources available to them.
In an ideal sense, Nations are a group of people who take what God has given them where God has given it to them, and develop a culture and industry around their resources in order to sustain themselves and bless the world.
Empires, on the other hand, could be thought of as people groups (or charismatic leaders of people groups) that seek to impose their own cultures on other Nations while using these other Nations and their resources in order to sustain the Empire.
Empires take what God has given to others, while also overriding what God has given to others. Diverse resources are harvested from a number of Nations, and in return a homogenous culture is imposed on those Nations by the Empire.
The Bible’s lack of regard for Empires is clear (think of how Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and Rome are portrayed). I think the respect given to Nations (as conceived above) is also clear, especially in places like Revelation 21:22-27, where “Kings of the earth shall bring the glory and honor of the nations” into the eternal city.
Some of the culture and industry developed by people who were committed to stewarding what God had given them where he had given it to them will make its way into the New Heavens and New Earth.
This is a longer thought on Vocation than the one I shared in my last newsletter, but I think it, too, must be part of our conversations about what we should do “when we grow up.”
Does our work contribute to the Nation or the Empire mindset? Are we seeking to do what we can with what we have in order to sustain those around us and bless others across the world?
Are there careers themselves that are more prone to an Empire mindset? (And, if there are, should they be avoided by Christians or entered into and redeemed?)
Why did Martin Luther, a former monk, decide to get married? His answer is delightfully Lutheran…
Martin Luther, as well as many of his friends, were at first unsure of whether he should even be married. However, he eventually came to the conclusion that "his marriage would please his father, rile the pope, cause the angels to laugh, and the devils to weep."