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Today I finish sharing some quotations from John Stott’s classic book Christian Mission in the Modern World. Toward the end of his chapter on mission, Stott focuses on the question of vocation or calling.
I begin with vocation, by which I mean a Christian’s lifework. We often given the impression that if a young Christian man is really keen for Christ he will undoubtedly become a foreign missionary, that if he is not quite as keen as that he will stay at home and become a pastor, that if he lacks the dedication to he a pastor, he will no doubt serve as a doctor or a teacher, while those who end up in social work or the media or (worst of all) in politics are not far removed from serious backsliding! (KL 354-357)
Can we now liberate ourselves from the manmade bondage (for that is what it is) of supposing that every really keen Christian will devote all his spare time to some soul-winning enterprise? Surely the biblical doctrine of the body of Christ, with different members gifted to fulfill different functions, should be enough to give us this larger freedom? (KL 379-381)
Of course there are ways in which Stott’s piece is dated, as you would expect. He speaks of the “modern” world without any mention of postmodernism. And his language is not inclusive with respect to gender. But, still, John Stott’s statement of Christian mission, and within that broader discussion, his notion of vocation, is absolutely right on.