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No Compartmentalizing God

July 1, 2008

This is so good. We must realize that God uses us to bless others and others to bless us. No matter what our job may be or even our circumstances, we can still be a blessing to others through our kindness and the talents God has blessed us with. Be blessed.


Brother Nixon



No Compartmentalizing God

By Chaplain (Capt.) John C. Wohlrabe Jr.,

Naval District Washington


Many of us function day to day through what is referred to as compartmentalization. Work is work, home is home, and we don’t bring one into the other. We handle different jobs by sorting them out and dealing with one at a time. Even if we are good at juggling several things, we do so by mentally putting each project or issue in it’s proper place so that thoughts and actions are not intermingled. This is an efficient way to work and live.


Often times we compartmentalize God and the place of faith in our lives. God and faith are specifically for our times of worship and our place of worship, but not necessarily involved in our home or work during the rest of the week. Even if we involve God by way of thoughts or prayers at other times, we may not see much of a connection to the other things we do. Put another way, some believe that the only time they are connected to God, or God works in them, or they serve God is when they are doing something “religious.”


What many fail to realize is that God is always working through each of us by way of our vocations, whatever those may be. The word “vocation” comes from the Latin word vocatio, which means “calling.”


Each of us has many callings in life through which God works to care for his creation. Through the vocation of parenthood God continues his work of bringing life into the world and nurturing children as they grow. Children have a vocation to learn and respect their parents and others in authority so they can discover their other vocations and take their place in society. As children grow they may also have a vocation to care for their parents in old age; thereby god continues his caring work through them.


God grants healing through those in the medical profession. Through those working in government, God orders and protects society. In other words, God guards and protects through police officers, firemen, members of the armed forces, elected officials and other government workers. God feeds us through farmers or ranchers, workers in the food-processing factories and butchers, truckers and delivery men, wholesalers and retailers, together with everyone else in the economic food chain. God shows His beauty through artist, or helps us think and laugh through writers and entertainers. God teaches His Word and administers his sacraments through pastors and other church workers. Vocations are “mask of God.” God is ministering to us through other people in our lives.


On the other hand, God works through us and is hidden in us to help others. You and I are “mask of God” to others, even when we are not involved in so-called “religious” work.  When we live out our callings as spouses, parents, children, citizens, workers and friends, god is working through us to help others. Even when you do not realize it, God is at work through you, caring for many people.


Understanding how God works through our various vocations and us has profound implications. If we see our jobs or our care for our families and friends only as something we have to do, if we see what we spend the vast majority of our time doing as being merely human, if there is no God in our work or life apart from church, then we may become resentful of our jobs or our care of others. Then we are simply striving for a paycheck or striving to fulfill an obligation. On the other hand, if God is working through us to carry on His work of creating and caring for his creation, then we see His glory and find joy in the many things we do.  We want to do the very best we can. Seeing that we are participating in God’s work affirms our self-worth. It also gives us  a greater appreciation for others, knowing that God works through them to care for us.


It is a marvelous thing! Although God does not need people to make the world work, he chooses to include us in His work so that we become His hands in caring for others. We can’t compartmentalize God. He certainly doesn’t compartmentalize us. He is at work in every aspect of our lives. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

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