Vocational faithfulness is not only about individual character but also about applying a biblical-theological lens to the work of the institution in which one labors. (“Institution” here refers to the social sector in which the organization where one works is situated.) We are called to image-bearing in our vocational sectors, which involves practices of both personal discipleship (e.g., prayer, functional dependency on the Spirit) and public discipleship (in love, advancing justice and shalom for the common good).
The public expression of vocational image-bearing is at least threefold:
• Cultivating within the vocational sector all its creational intent and possibilities; aligning it with what it “was meant to be” in God’s original design
• Restoring the sector to righteousness (“set-right-ness”) where it has been corrupted
• Imagining the work of this sector in “the age to come” and offering a foretaste of those future Kingdom realities now
REFLECT & RESPOND
1. Most vocational expressions of public discipleship have focused on white-collar professionals. In what ways can/do blue-collar workers bear Christ’s image for the common good?
2. One way of “going deeper” in vocational faithfulness is the progression from individual to institutional thinking. What other shifts or progressions mark a “2.0” understanding of “faithful presence” in various vocational sectors?
Dr. Amy L. Sherman, a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute, was named by Christianity Today in 2012 as one of the 50 Evangelical women most influencing the American Church and culture. She’s the author of six books and over 80 articles in periodicals including First Things, The Public Interest, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Books & Culture. Her most recent book is Kingdom Calling. (BA, Messiah College; MA and Ph.D., University of Virginia)