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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Family Vocation: God's Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood

Our home has been consumed with sickness for the past several weeks.  It started back in March, when our oldest went through two rounds of Strep Throat.  We have since discovered that she is a Strep B carrier and will be more susceptible to this infection.  Then our 6 year old went through about 4 days of running fever and not feeling well.  Then my husband and I spent a week running fever and feeling like the grim reaper was hanging on our coat tails.  Now the littlest one has Acute Bronchitis.

There is nothing like being racked with sickness, which inevitably breads extreme irritability among the members of a family to know that this is so very true:
"God is present and active in families, bringing His gifts and working His purposes.  He and His works may be hidden in the mundane - seeming details of ordinary life, but it is useful - both in times of family difficulties and when everything is going right - to catch a glimpse of Him."
That's a quote from the introduction of Family Vocation: God's Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood by Gene Edward Veith Jr. and his daughter, Mary J. Moerbe published by Crossway.

 From the preface:
"This book will seem quite a bit different from other Christian books on the family.  It applies Martin Luther's doctrine of vocation to the different callings within the family.  This cannot be done without pulling along other aspects of Luther's theology.  Readers will note here that the 'gospel' does not simply have reference to conversion, what a person responds to in first becoming a Christian.  Rather, the gospel - that is, the message of Christ crucified for sinners - relates to every moment of the believer's life."

Many of us may think of vocation as just another word for our jobs - those things we do for which we are paid a wage.  However, Luther would have us understand vocation more as our calling.  Using 1 Corinthians 7:17 ("Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him."), the authors explain vocation this way:  "The idea is that the Lord 'assigns' us to different kinds of lives, and that He 'calls' us to them."  Furthermore, the doctrine of vocation "has to do, above all, with the way God works through human beings...and emphasizes what God is doing through my life" rather that "what God is doing in my life".  The purpose of every vocation is to love and serve one's neighbor.

Do you view your mother, father, sister, brother, wife, husband, son or daughter as you neighbor whom you are to love as you love yourself?

What does it mean to be called as a husband, a wife, a parent, a child?

How does the grace of the gospel impact how we carry out these particular callings?

How does God's presence address the struggles that our own family faces?

Do you realize that God not only established the institution of the family in general, but that He established your actual, personal family as well?

What would you define as "spiritual activities"? 
"The good works we need to do as Christians - the arena of our sanctification - are not elaborate spiritual exercises or spectacular feats of accomplishment.  Rather, they are to be found in our ordinary interactions with the actual human beings whom God brings into our lives every day...Though God doesn't need our good works, our neighbor does.  Our neighbor is in need.  God commands us to love and serve that neighbor...God is hidden in vocation, and Christ is hidden in our neighbors.  Thus, we love and serve God precisely by loving and serving our neighbors.  We live out our faith in concrete ways face to face with the people God has provided for us in our daily lives."
 Family Vocation explores these thoughts by way of an in depth look at the following areas:
  • Marriage
  • The Office of Husband
  • The Office of Wife
  • Sex and Vocation
  • The Crosses of Marriage
  • Parenthood
  • The Office of Mother
  • The Office of Father
  • Raising Children
  • The Crosses of Parenthood
  • Childhood
  • Growing 
  • The Crosses of Childhood
  • The Rest of the Family
  • Restoring the Family
If you are looking for a sound biblical parenting book or book on family life or marriage and you only have the resources to purchase one book, I highly recommend Family Vocation.  When the sink is full of dishes, the laundry room is full of dirty clothes, the bills need to be paid, you and your husband are at odds, the children are driving you nuts and you've cleaned the 100th dirty little bottom of the day or you face needs much deeper than these in your family, you don't need pious platitudes or to "think positive thoughts".  You need the gospel.  Mr. Veith and his daughter have provided a wonderful resource to aid us in preaching the gospel to ourselves every day in all the callings God has placed on our lives.

You can order the book from Crossway by going HERE.  Or you can check it out on by going HERE.

Blessings on you and all God has called you to,


Tesha said...

Oh I am so sorry to hear you have been sick. I am a strep carrier also and had strep 3 times in one year. I did not get it this year....I am so thankful. I will pray for her it is really painful. I love this review and can not wait to get the book! I love when you said you don't need pious platitudes or to "think positive thoughts". You need the gospel. That should be a published quote. May I quote you? Thank you for the book Review

Kathy said...

This looks like a great book, Jennifer. I like the quote talking about how our calling and acts of love come about in the ordinary & everyday interactions, not something so elaborate. Great review!