Visiting those who are sick and facing death is part of my job as a pastor, and, frankly, I’m woefully inadequate. Thanks be to God, I’ve spent very little time in the valley of the shadow of death personally. I haven’t shared the experiences of sickness and death that many of my parishioners are going through when I call on them in the ICU. When I enter their hospital rooms, I feel naked.
All I can do is listen to how sin and death whispers its lies to the sick and their families. I grieve with them even though I have not experienced their pain myself. All I can offer is to read Scripture, announce the forgiveness that God has ordained me to give, and walk out.
In other words, the only thing for me to do is to do the vocation of a pastor.
Knowing I have done all that God has given me to do, I am still haunted by my inadequacy and failure. “You should have said this. You could have done this. You haven’t really helped those poor saps. You have given no real hope or comfort.”
Yet, I find that God does stuff, He does work, through me and my vocation. I return to the hospital room to hear, “Oh thank goodness you’re here.” Or, “I don’t know how we could go through all this without you. You are such a help.” In those moments, I look over my shoulder figuring they must be speaking someone behind me. Some doctor with the miracle drug to make the cancer go away. Some hero with mystical powers to give a dying heart new strength. Some wizard who has braved that deathly valley who can lead the way out.
But no. The family is speaking to me, a mere man. Check that: They are speaking to an instrument. They are speaking to me, the pastor, whose vocation it is to be the voice of God delivering God’s Word to God’s people. They are speaking of what Jesus has done through His slave. And sure, they are seeing God at work through the pastoral vocation. They see my good works (soiled with sin) and giving glory to my Father who is in heaven.
But then all this Fivetwo garbage comes along and kills the Biblical doctrine of vocation. Bill Woolsey states, “[Jesus’] presence in us is how the world experiences Him in real time. We’re His sacraments, His life-giving reality to our families and communities.”
In the words of the great Chris Carter, “C’mon man!”
This language is confusing at best (and heretical at worst) language. It makes vocation into a sacrament. But why? Is it to make us carrying out our vocations feel more important? Is it to compel people to be more vocationally minded? Or is it a tool of Satan to arouse our desire to be like God?
Now I know, “living out your vocation” doesn’t sound as cool or important as being a “sacramental entrepreneur.” But you are not the “life-giving reality” to anyone. By making vocation something more than it is (if that is what he is doing), Woolsey is destroying what God has made it to be.
Shame on him.
Ironically, Fivetwo prophetically tweets about what will happen to them.