One of the great, though at times unexplored, victories of the Protestant Reformation was a recovery of the dignity and value of all vocations in the service of Christ. The Early Church, dominated by asceticism and the Medieval Church with her constant struggle between ecclesiastical and civil power, left us with a strongly divided view of life. Life was seen as a division between the sacred upper story and the secular ground floor. The sacred calling to serve as a priest, monk, or nun was treated with special deference, while bakers, tradesmen, fishermen, and all other sorts of secular vocation were viewed with varying degrees of contempt.
The Protestant Reformation brought a healthy change to this vision of the world. For men like Luther and Calvin, all work done to the glory of God was valuable and praiseworthy. This conviction fired the zeal of the reformers to make the Scriptures available to the common man and to put the liturgy of worship into the vernacular.
In our day we are seeing a slide back into the two story view of things. Missionaries and pastors are seen by many as having a special standing before God. It is not so. All who believe and who bring their vocation before God, seeking His glory and honor in their labors, are accepted and valued for Christ's sake. All careers, all jobs are given dignity as they are turned to the glory of the Lord.
How can we turn our various vocations to the service of Christ's glory? We do so first by regarding our labors as pleasing to God in and of themselves. It is good to till the ground, to repair a car, to care for the sick, to thoroughly clean an IMAX screen (no spots, now!). Secondly, we turn our vocation to Christ's glory by doing it to our utmost. Hard work honors the one who gave us our vocations. Excellence is fitting for those who are doing their work "as unto the Lord." Finally, we turn our vocations to the glory of God by shining our light in and through them. Too many "Christian" companies, entrepreneurs, and businessmen have sullied the name of Christ by advertising with a fish logo while leaving a residue of broken promises and shoddy work behind them. This should not happen.
Developing a Christian vision for and a Christian way of fulfilling our vocations will take effort. It is too easy just to slide along. But with hard work and with the books and audio below to encourage you it can be done.