July 6, 2017
Every Job A Parable
Pastor, author, and seminary teacher John Van Sloten investigates vocations in his insightful book Every Job A Parable: What Walmart Greeters, Nurses & Astronauts Tell Us About God. Published by NavPress, who kindly sent me a copy to review via the Tyndale Blog Network, this book speaks of our Creator God, Who works in and through us in all kinds of work.
As the author of this highly recommended book explains, “The first step may be submitting to the fact that creation really is filled with the thoughts of God, that you are meant to grasp those thoughts, that work is a place where that can happen, and that none of this can happen apart from God’s Spirit illumining your way.”
Equally important, “For this process to play out in an effective way, we need to be very familiar with the God of the Bible. Without a deep knowledge of the God of the Scriptures (the Old Testament and the New) we won’t be able to recognize his signature moves in creation.”
For example, “Sanitation workers image a God who cleans and maintains his creation. Their work points to a central tenet of our Christian faith: that God is a God who cleans up our lives (justifies us through the humble, selfless, servant-like work of Christ) and then keeps them clean (maintains and sanctifies us via the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit).”
In the parables, Jesus used everyday jobs to illustrate deep spiritual truths, for instance, in His stories involving vineyard workers, judges, and farmers, the latter of whom know “they need to submit to and trust an entire ecosystem of outside forces” – all of which remain under God's care-filled management.
Then “the deeper we enter into an awareness of God’s presence at work, the more we will know him as the providential source of all things. As we experience him through our creativity, rationality, sense of timing, physical skills, or entrepreneurialism, we will be reminded that all of these good gifts – just like the sun and the rain – come from (God’s) gracious hand.”
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, poet-writer and reviewer
Every Job A Parable: What Walmart Greeters, Nurses & Astronauts Tell Us About God, paperback