The second theme stresses the importance for community ithin our world. Jesus was a relational person creating intimate friendships with all people. Therefore, we are to imitate His act and be interactive with humanity. Being relational includes discipleship, brotherhood, love, and reconciliation. The final theme–vocation discusses the difference between career and calling. When we are patient, seek Him first, and listen for his quiet voice, He will reveal our true calling.
Although the three themes have distinct characteristics and differences from one another all three intersect and are important in the Christian life. When we lose our ense of purpose and meaning, we lose our sense of connection to others and God; we lose our sense of community. Without a sense of purpose we forget that we are created in His image and other people mean little to us because we no longer value ourselves. The image of God is in all creation. We see his reflection in kind and gentle humans and we marvel at the beauty of a summers’ sunset.
His reflection is found in every living thing and in the God-created beauty of nature. Man is the most unique among all of God’s creation because we have a material body and a soul. “Then God aid, let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, ESV). Having the “likeness of God” means that we were made to resemble God. Man is free to make decisions and reason-this is a reflection of God’s intellect and freedom. “Not only are we created as trustees of God to experience the goodness of creation, we are created to be in community with all creation” (Birch).
Since God has given us a responsibility over “the fish of the see and the birds of the air… over all the earth” (Leviticus 25: 23-24, NIV), we are to fulfill this responsibility by taking care of these things. Creation relates to community in the fact that man was created for fellowship. This reflects God’s nature and His love. In Eden, Adam’s primary relationship was with God, but He made the first woman because “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18, ESV). “Relationality is a part of the image of God.
If we are free and responsible persons, and everyone else is similarly free and reasonable, we are inseparably linked to one another through our choices” Oacobsen ; Sawatsky). Creation relates to our calling as well in this way, “Our special status as bearers of God’s image brings special responsibilities. In particular, we are called to use our gifts and talents in the service of God, in helping others, and in caring for the natural world” Oacobsen ; Sawatsky Man has been created as a relational people.
This sense of community can be seen in many aspects of our lives such as the church, our families, our friends, and many other places. While Jesus was on this Earth, He made numerous connections with people through stories, sharing, and demonstrating acts of love. We are to follow in His footsteps. Not only are we supposed to reach out to others, but we are also supposed to reconcile with them. Reconciliation is key to having a relationship with someone, and sustaining it. Reconciliation can happen, because as Christians, we understand that God reconciled with us by sending Jesus Christ to save the world.
Community is the perfect means to demonstrate how God has loved us. We can’t practice authentic Christianity without Christian fellowship because love is at the very root of God’s character. “God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16, NIV). The church is the central place within Christian community. It is important to walk with other believers who can build us up, call us out, and who ill love us no matter what. We find strength in numbers and it makes our walk with God easier when we have people supporting us.
A Christian community is necessary to help us recharge, be renewed, and be refreshed. “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV). Community and vocation are connected to one another in the sense that it is important for us to be a part of our local and nonlocal communities. We are called to be the hands and feet of God and He uses us to reach out to people we are in contact ith. We need to be attending to the needs of our communities and actively loving our neighbors by using out gifts, talents, and strengths.
With what ever our calling may be, God insists that we use our abilities to encourage, strengthen, aid, and educate others because that is what Jesus did here on Earth. As Christians, we become whole persons through healthy relationships with God and others. This means that “we feel the need to encourage and support families, churches, and local communities, and the larger civil society so that these various social places can emain places where healthy relationships are able develop and where human dignity is protected” Oacobsen ; Sawatsky).
Community and creation are connected to one another in the sense that God created an interrelated creation. “Not only are we created as trustees of God to experience the goodness of creation, we are created to be in community with all creation” (Birch). This is the only way we will be able to experience the wholeness God has intended for us. Each part of God’s creation finds its fulfillment in interrelatedness with all. “The place God calls man to is the place where his or her deep gladness and the orld’s deep hunger meet.
The kind of work God usually calls man to is the kind of work that man need most to do, and also the work that the world most needs to have done” (Buechner). Calling and career are two separate things, but ultimately go hand- in-hand. Knowing the difference is an essential part of finding where God wants us to be. “A career is a particular line of work one does to earn an income. A calling is a specific vision of how God wants to use our time, energy, and abilities to serve Him in the world” (Sittser). As a Christian, we are to seek His kingdom first in our lives, but a alling often uses a career.
Our calling should be bigger than Just a career. Many people think that finding a calling only applies to the Christian world , but everyone can contribute to the common good. Discovering God’s will for our lives is not something that happens overnight. Often it is very hard to truly hear what He is saying to us. God can speak directly to us, but He often is heard through other the people, church, nature-even art and music. It is obvious that prayer is essential to the Christian life. It is especially important in discovering our calling. “Prayer is listening.
It is attentiveness, being in the presence of God, waiting expectantly for God to speak to our hearts” Oacobsen & Sawatsky). Waiting involves patience, which is often hard to achieve. Being able to understand that God will always show us where He wants us will help us get through that waiting period. God gave man the responsibility to be caregivers over the earth; this arises from being created in the image of God. God entrusted His own function as Creator to man along with abilities required to do so. This includes exploring, discovering, understanding, developing, and using creation to honor the Creator.
Work is not incidental to man’s being, but an essential part of his purpose of being on the earth. Community is also an essential part of using our vocation to honor Him. God wants us to meet our own needs and the needs of our own family and our own friends, but he also calls us to provide for the needs of others. “Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NIV). Whatever our career may be, within the work place we need to be aware of those who are around us. Creation, community, and vocation are three important aspects of the Christian ife.
As has been shown throughout the previous paragraphs, each of these themes can be looked at separately, but they are often seen in connection with one another. Throughout the course, this connection wasn’t specifically addressed, but reflecting back on the three themes, I am now able to intersect creation, community, and vocation. As people, we were created in the image of God; therefore He has provided us with skills, abilities, and strengths also achieved through experiences and our careers”to make a difference in our surrounding communities and throughout the world. References
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