Let’s take turns describing the people who do certain jobs. For example, if I asked you to describe a police officer to me (since I had never seen one and didn’t understand what they do) what sort of things would you tell me?
- (discussion follows, prompting as little as possible, and trying to get the youth to describe several iconic professions that depend on consistent, selfless actions like – soldier, judge, EMT, fireman, etc.)
So now that you’ve described how I’d recognize one of these people by their uniform, where they work, or by the tools they use, I’d like to talk about something they have in common. Each of these professions OR “Vocations” as another way to say job or profession, requires special education, training, practice and a commitment in order for these men and women to become qualified.
We don’t just walk up to a courthouse and become a judge by filling out a form, and we don’t become a soldier simply by putting on the uniform without a lot of training and practice, right?
These people had a desire to learn and made a commitment to do the hard work to become recognized in their profession or vocation.
In Ephesians 4:1 it says “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” – a calling is a personal commitment to act a certain way for the rest of your life…sometimes we use the word calling with the word vocation to talk about someone’s professional career. Like the examples we talked about before, people can be recognized by their uniform, tools, where they hang out, and mainly by what they do.
Our Trail Life motto is to “walk worthy” and in this scripture verse, it becomes “to walk worthy of our calling”. What do you think that means to people who read the Bible and are Christians?
- (encourage some discussion around this point, guiding by asking “is there a way to recognize a Christian like we recognize a police officer or EMT?” “Do we wear a uniform?” (uh, no) “Do we hang out at any place special (church?)” Do we behave certain ways?
- (be prepared for “ouch” answers among the “amen” answers!)
I think the idea behind this verse was simply that Christians are imperfect people who have reconciled (patched things up) with God by being humble enough to confess their sins and to pursue proper living. Now to be clear, I’m not saying we have to work our way into God’s favor, but because of His willingness to provide a way for us to become OK with Him, we want to pursue a calling or “career” of doing what He wants us to do.
What does God want from us? Let’s have some volunteers read aloud some key verses…
- (have verses printed neatly on cards or papers to hand out to the volunteers – number the pages so that they’re read in the order you may prefer – use some or all of the suggestions below or substitute your favorites based on the age range and experience level of your group).
- Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
- Ecclesiastes 12:13 “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”
- Matthew 22:37-40 “And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
- John 6:28-29 “Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
- Matthew 4:4 “But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
- Ephesians 5:1 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
- Luke 9:23 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
- Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- 2 Peter 1:3-8 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
So based on these verses, what sorts of characteristics should make us recognizable as Christians? If we were to keep God’s commandments without compromise, or love God with all of our heart and all of our strength what might that look like to other people? Would they see a difference in us if we were really consistent in these practices?
Tonight we learned a little bit about vocations (jobs/careers) and calling – making a commitment to live or act a certain way consistently. In our motto, we say we will “walk worthy” and that means to be consistent in how we live and to do what God wants – not because we have to do that to earn God’s favor, but because we want to do that as a way of thanking Him for his Grace in forgiving our sins.