Gene Veith’s daughter, Mary Moerbe, has published what looks like an excellent book on vocation for kids called How Can I Help? God’s Calling for Kids.
As you know, Gene Veith is the author of the excellent, defining book on vocation in our day, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. His daughter’s book takes these concepts and applies them to kids.
Here’s the Amazon summary:
God sends people to help in little ways and big ways. He calls all of us to love and to serve others, to help however we can no matter how old or young we are. Christians have multiple vocations: at work, in church, as citizens in society, or as family members.
A child’s call to love and serve is the same as an adult’s.
Work = developing their talents
Church = going to Sunday School and learning about God
Citizens = learning how to act and behave in public
Family = learning to honor their parents
How Can I Help? teaches children that God
1. provides for their needs, sometimes through others he places in their life
2. works through them to help others
3. has a plan for their life no matter what vocation they choose
4. sent Jesus who was not just a helper, but their Savior
That description captures the doctrine of vocation so well that even adults can learn from it. Notice four crucial things.
First, vocation is about serving others! Jesus placed a high priority on service. What we often fail to realize is that the Scriptures actually bring these teachings together into an actual doctrine — namely, the doctrine of vocation. The heart of the doctrine of vocation is that we are all here to serve, and we serve others through our daily work and roles.
Second, right along with this, we are also served through others’ vocations and, more than that, it is ultimately God himself who is working in all of this. When we are serving others, it is God working through us to meet their needs. Likewise, when others serve us, it is ultimately God working through them to meet our needs. Hence, the doctrine of vocation points us to an understanding of life that is infused with the presence of God, and glorifies him as the ultimate servant (which is the ultimate mark of greatness — Matthew 20:25-28; Acts 20:35).
Third, notice how the summary captures the essence of work as “developing [your] talents.” Though the book may not go into this in detail, I think that captures something very important. We often think of work as something ultimately done to earn money and make a living. But that is a very reductionistic view of work. It treats people merely as economic beings, rather than people who are in the image of God and full of incredible potential that is worth developing. So developing our talents and using them for the good of others (in a way that is profitable and meets our needs) is actually a fundamental, essential aspect of our work.
Some people have gone so far as to say it is selfish to seek to develop your talents in your work. I think that is ridiculous. In fact, I think that work is thankfully a zone where God protects us from the bad theology of these zealous over-spiritualizers by actually mandating that we care very much about the exercise of our gifts in our work — not just making money.
Fourth, vocation applies to everyone, even children. It is an amazing thing that, as Gene Veith says, even “being a child is a vocation.”
This looks like a helpful book for helping anchor young children in this very important doctrine, right from the beginning of their lives.