As we come to the end of Br. Lawrence's little book, I am struck by the many things that resonate with this last letter. they are too much for one blog post, so I will flesh them out over the next couple of days as we wrap this up.
Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. (-Br. Lawrence)
When I read this, I can't help but think of the idea of finding one's vocation. One of the best books I've read on vocation comes from a Quaker by the name of Parker Palmer. In his little book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, he says the following:
"Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about - quite apart from what I would like for it to be about - or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.
"That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for "voice." Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live - but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life." (p.4-5)
If we were to combine these two thoughts, we would see that Br. Lawrence is calling us to make our vocation to know God. Drawing on Palmer, we might understand that to mean that since God creates us, only God can truly tell us who we are and who God is. Let's push that a little further to say that, if our true vocation is to know God, our jobs are the fertile ground in which that knowledge grows.
We learn who God is as we learn to live out our faith as nurses, teachers, small business owners, construction workers, pastors, etc. These may be how we make a living, but our true calling is to know God through these things - to allow God to shape us into the image of Christ in the midst of our jobs. As we interact with coworkers, customers, students, employees, neighbors, friends, and family, we are being sharpened "as iron sharpens iron" and have the opportunity to know God in the midst of our everyday activity. This is why Br. Lawrence can say that he is just as much in prayer washing pots and pans as he is kneeling before the altar. This is the goal of Practicing the Presence - constant communion with God, becoming more and more like Jesus, and letting Jesus live through our hands and feet - touching the world through us.
Ecclesia Writer's Consortium
We are blessed at Ecclesia to have a number of gifted writers and teachers. Here, you'll find devotions, meditations, and musings from a sample of those writers.