Calvin on Vocation

 In preparation for this Sunday’s message: Delighting in His Worship for the Joy of Your Work, Calvin offer this on the subject of vocation:

As this passage has been basely distorted into the commendation of what is called a Contemplative life, we must inquire into its true meaning, form which it will appear, that nothing was farther from the design of Christ, than to encourage his disciples to indulge in indolence, or in useless speculations. It is no doubt, and old error, that those who withdraw from business, and devote themselves entirely to a contemplative, lead an Angelical life. For the abusurdities which the Sorbonnists utter on this subject they appear to have been indebted to Aristotle, who places the highest good, and ultimate end, of human life in contemplation, which, according to him, is the enjoyment of virtue. when some men were driven by ambition to withdraw from the ordinary intercourse of life, or when peevish men gave themselves up to solitude and indolence, the resolution to adopt that course was followed by such pride, that they imagined themselves to be like the angles, because they did nothing; for they entertained as great a contempt for active life, as if it had kept them back from heaven. On the contrary, we know that mean were created for the express purpose of being employed in labour of various kinds, and that no sacrifice is more pleasing to God, than when every man applies diligently to his own calling, and endeavours to live in such a manner as to contribute to the general advantage.”

John Calvin, Harmony of the Evangelists

1 thought on “Calvin on Vocation

  1. Interesting quote. I find Calvin’s admonition to love through practical service to be powerful.
    I find Weber’s summary of the protestant work ethic (as being about working to earn your salvation) to be an incomprehensible misunderstanding.
    What was the bible passage that Calvin was commenting on?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s