What's more, understanding the doctrine of vocation changed how I think about those whose jobs provide a service to me. Yesterday, for instance, the Purolator man delivered a parcel to my place. It was addressed to my son, and heavy—too heavy to ship by Canada Post. He wheeled the parcel to the garage door and left it there, because he knows that the big stuff goes in the garage/shop that houses my son's business. Later, the mailman delivered two more packages, a book for me to review, and a tool for my son. These are two people whose labor make my life—and the lives of those around me—better.
The doctrine of vocation teaches me that when they delivered their parcels, these men were wearing the "mask of God," to use a phrase from Martin Luther. We might say God was hiding himself in their work, whether they knew it or not. He was caring for me and mine through them. They are his good gifts to me, along with all the other people whose jobs make my life better.
During this season, as I practice the discipline of thanksgiving, I'm trying to remember to thank God for the ordinary people whose labor serves me. Thinking through my day, besides the two men mentioned above, I'm thankful for
- the workers in my grocery store. God provides my food through them.
- the farm workers who grow and harvest fruit and vegetables and the truck drivers who transport them to my grocery store. God feeds me through their labor, too.
- those who maintain our winter roads, who are God's means to keep me safe as I drive.