Whenever, Veterans’ Day rolls around, I am reminded of vocations (callings in our lives) and how God works through all vocations. Vocations are not just jobs. They are callings in our lives that can be relational callings, such as that of a friend, sibling, parent, or spouse. They can be callings in various stages of life, such as being called to be a student, devoting time to learning a particular skill or knowledge that you will later be able to use to serve your neighbor. These vocations are given by God and designed by him as the ways in which he works through individuals to meet our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
For instance, God works through doctors to heal people. He works through police officers to keep law and order in society. He works through farmers to produce the food we need to live, which means he also works through the factory workers who manufacture and package the farmer’s food, the engineers and scientists who have helped hone this practice to be most efficient, the truck drivers who deliver the packaged food to our local grocery stores, and the many employees at your local grocery to manage, stock, and sell that food in a clean and safe manner. Many people have worked through their vocations (callings by God) to serve you, every single meal, even if you cooked the food yourself.
Not all relationships and jobs however are vocations (callings), because God does not call us to sin. A person can’t be a drug dealer to the glory of God for instance, unless he or she is a pharmacist.
A proper understanding of vocations helps remind me of how God works through the military of our country to do his work in the world, as well as other country’s militaries. I know that some Christians oppose Christian involvement in any military service. I think they lack a proper understanding of vocations. God works through soldiers and the governments that send them to war to ensure justice in the world and safety and freedom.
As an apologetic for the military being a vocation (calling) from God, and how Christians can faithfully serve in a military vocation, I have some quotes from Martin Luther on vocation. They were taken from: http://trinitypartners.org/2010/07/04/luther-on-vocation/
“A cobbler, a smith, a farmer, each has the work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops, and every one by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other, that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, even as all the members of the body serve one another…”
“What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God…We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow”
“Monastic vows rest on the false assumption that there is a special calling, a vocation, to which superior Christians are invited to observe the counsels of perfection while ordinary Christians fulfill only the commands; but there simply is no special religious vocation since the call of God comes to each at the common tasks.”
“The idea that the service to God should have only to do with a church altar, singing, reading, sacrifice, and the like is without doubt but the worst trick of the devil. How could the devil have led us more effectively astray than by the narrow conception that service to God takes place only in a church and by the works done therein…The whole world could abound with the services to the Lord, Gottesdienste – not only in churches but also in the home, kitchen, workshop, field”
And could it not also be on the battlefields?
God bless you Veterans!
One thought on “You can Serve God and Your Neighbor in the Military.”
Luther’s “Two Kingdom’s Thesis” is centered around answering the Princes’ question how can we do what we do battle, killing etc. and remain Christians. Luther not only goes about answering this question and the need for the sword in the kingdom of the world, which Christians can wield in serving God in the defense of their neighbors, but also how all Christians can serve God in various other vocations to maintain peace and the rule of law in the kingdom of the world..