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John Calvin on Vocation

July 4, 2010

The following quotes are attributable to John Calvin:  

“We know that men were created for the express purpose of being employed in labor of various kinds, and that no sacrifice is more pleasing to God than when every man applies diligently to his own calling, and endeavors to live in such a manner as to contribute to the general advantage.”

“The Lord commands every one of us, in all actions of life to regard his vocation…. to prevent universal confusion being produced by our folly and temerity, he has appointed to all their particular duties in different spheres of life. And that no one might rashly transgress the limits prescribed, he has styled such spheres of life vocations, or callings. ”

“Every individual’s line of life, therefore, is, as it were, a post assigned him by the Lord, that he may not wander about in uncertainty all his days.”

“It will also be no small alleviation of his cares, labours, troubles, and other burdens, when a man knows that in all these things he has God for his guide. The magistrate will execute his office with greater pleasure, the father of a family will confine himself to his duty with more satisfaction, and all, in their respective spheres of life, will bear and surmount the inconveniences, cares, disappointments, and anxieties which befall them, when they shall be persuaded that every individual has his burden laid upon him by God. Hence also will arise peculiar consolation, since there will be no employment so mean and sordid (provided we follow our vocation) as not to appear truly respectable, and be deemed highly important in the sight of God”

For a more detailed understanding of Calvin’s approach in the broader historical spectrum of career, calling and profession consider reading Professionals: Men and Women Partnering with the Trinity in Everyday Life.

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