“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
By Stephenie Hovland, Lutheran teacher, writer, and church musician
Walk in a worthy manner
Ephesians 4:1–3 reads:
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Whether you are a mother, son, teacher, caregiver, and/or a variety of other roles, you have been called by God to serve in multiple vocations.
We often think of our vocation as our church worker position alone, but we know God has called us to do so much more.
As we live out that which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10) we may notice a struggle.
Sometimes this struggle is particularly strong and challenges one or more of the areas in which we live out these vocations.
We may wonder how we can be good parents when the church demands so much of us or how we can be good workers when we must be caregivers to someone who needs round-the-clock care.
It’s not easy even when we serve in the areas of our gifts and strengths.
As we struggle with the demands of each vocational area, we also struggle with the manner of serving.
For example, can we be humble and gentle with our students, when we also must bear with each family member in love — no matter how they test us?
Then, we must also keep our co-workers in mind.
Do we try to address our colleagues with the same peace and unity we strive for in our classrooms? Do we find it easier to have patience with a parishioner who is struggling with family burdens than we do with our fellow church workers? Do we bear with one another in love, or just barely put up with their presence?
There are many ways teaching and ministering is hard.
Since we never serve in one vocation solely, it makes it harder to meet the needs of students, parents, a congregation, fellow workers and our families.
We might say it is an impossible task, but by the grace of God, we can daily confess our weaknesses and where we have let others down in our various vocations.
We repent of our own selfishness in wanting it to be easy, and we let God fill in the gap of weakness with His strength. God’s grace will see us through where our striving comes up short.
Today, know that God has forgiveness in Christ for you yourself, your fellow workers and those you serve.
Heavenly Father, forgive me where I am failing in humility and gentleness. Restore my patience and give me the strength to bear with others in love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to email@example.com.