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[Audio begins with remarks by college student John Carson.]

We encourage our young people to go to college and study so that they might be prepared for their vocation. We tend to think of a vocation as a career or a job. That’s the typical understanding of the word today.

But this word has deeply spiritual roots. It comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call.” A vocation is a calling.

A servant of Christ is exceptional calling. It is a worthy vocation. We are all called to set sail and be servants of Christ.

We are inspired by our college students and our missionaries, but if we take the message of James and the teaching of Christ seriously, then we are all called to be hearers and doers of the word. Their circumstances are different, but our calling is the same – to live and die for Christ, to practice pure religion, to be hearers and doers of the word.

"A ship is safe in harbor,
but that is not what a ship is for."
-- Thomas Aquinas
Unfortunately, there is a bland imitation wisdom that tells us that the kingdom of heaven is a “gated community” within which Christians can feel unthreatened and keep out the undesirables. This false wisdom keeps us in a Christian bubble – a safe harbor from which we never set sail.

If we all led quiet, ordinary lives that kept us out of trouble and safe, we would very likely be content with one another. One can be considered a good Christian if he or she knows something about Christ, goes to church, has been baptized and takes communion every Lord’s day.
But that’s a very minimal Christianity that doesn’t pay attention to one’s vocation.

Jim Wilson brought a need before us on behalf of our Ethiopian brothers and sisters. John Carson has brought Jesus’ words to our attention – the one who takes these words and puts them into practice is like a wise person who builds a house on solid ground.
I also want to place before us a word from Jesus from that same sermon – “Unless your righteousness surpasses the scribes and Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”

There it is. Jesus is calling all of us to be exceptional disciples. Jesus is calling all of us to be ministers, agents of the kingdom rule right here and now. He is calling us out of the safe harbor and Christian bubble.

What is our vocation? James understood it like this --- James 2:14-17

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 24 August 2008

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