1 Corinthians 7:24
Brothers, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
I. A GOOD CALLING IS A GREAT MERCY, whether you take the word "calling" for the calling of condition, or for the calling of employment. For —
1. A man is thereby kept —
(1) From idleness, which is the nurse of all wickedness.
(2) From busy-bodiedness. The more idle a man is the more apt he is to be meddling with others' matters (2 Thessalonians 3:11).
2. A lawful calling is God's ground, inasmuch as no calling or an unlawful one is the devil's ground.
II. A MAN HAVING A GOOD CALLING IS TO ABIDE THEREIN,
1. Therefore there is an aptness in us to change or lay down our callings, or why should the apostle three times call upon us to abide in them?
2. But it is not absolutely unlawful for a man to leave or to change his calling." For possibly a man —
(1) May be qualified for higher employments. In this case, David left his calling of a shepherd and became a king; the apostles left the calling of their fishing and became apostles.
(2) May see the same hand of God leading him out of his calling which did bring him into it. So when Noah had the same command to go out of the ark that he had to go in, then he went out.
(3) May be forced through want to change his calling. Paul, though a preacher and apostle, was sometimes forced to work with his hands.
3. Though it he lawful in some cases to do so, yet ordinarily a man is to abide in his calling, for a good calling is the Lord's gift.
(1) It is God that calls a man to it, and is it likely that God will bless him who deserts it?
(2) There is no calling but God may be served and enjoyed therein (ver. 22).
4. But, says one, that is the reason why I would lay down my calling, because I cannot serve God so well therein. Are you sure of that? Luther tells us of a certain man that was given to anger, and who to avoid provocation would go live alone as an hermit; and going to the well with his pitcher something displeased him, and he threw clown his pitcher, and he broke it in anger; which when he had done, he said, Well, now I see it is not in my condition, but in my heart, that doth cause provocation; therefore I will return to my calling again.
III. IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERY MAN TO WALK WITH GOD IN HIS CALLING, and not barely to abide therein.
1. It was so from the beginning. Adam had a calling in the state of innocency, and therein he was to walk with God.
2. And if a man do not walk with God in his calling, how can he walk with God at all? A man is not said to walk with God because he prays in the morning or evening; walking is a constant thing.
3. Thereby a man is distinguished from men of the world. A man is not of another world because he deserts his calling that he may give himself unto his devotions. Christ Himself was in the world, "but not of the world."
4. This is that which will sweeten and elevate your callings: everything is raised or depressed as God is present with it or absent from it.
5. Every man is as he is in his calling; a man hath no more grace than he may or can use in his calling; and though I have all parts and gifts, yet if I be not gracious in my calling, they are but sounding brass and as tinkling cymbal.
IV. WHAT SHOULD A MAN DO THAT HE MAY WALK WITH GOD IN HIS CALLING?
(1) You must not be ignorant of the way of your calling; for if you take up a calling, and are ignorant of it, you may tempt God therein. Every man should be the master of his art.
(2) You must not be negligent. Diligence in our callings is commanded, commended, and rewarded in Scripture.
(3) You must not deal unjustly with men (Micah 6:8).
(4) You must not be too fond of your calling, or you will forget the God of your calling. You will go with an apron into your shop that you may keep your clothes clean, and hath not your soul as much need of an apron in your calling? If the ivy clings too close unto the oak it hindereth its growth; so if your callings cling too close to you, and you to your callings, it will hinder your spiritual growth.
(1) You must observe what those temptations are that are incident to your calling, and take heed thereof (vers. 23, 35).
(2) You must live by faith in your callings. Thereby you shall be kept from covetousness and love of the world. "This is our victory," &c.
(3) Whatever you do therein, do all to the glory of God.
(4) Be sure that you so manage your calling that your general calling may not be a hindrance, but a help to your particular; and thus your particular calling may be no hindrance, but a help to your general calling.
(5) Be sure that you turn as God turns, sweetly complying with His dispensations in the way of your calling.
(6) You must judge of things in your calling as God judges.
(7) You must spiritualise your particular calling with heavenly things; not put all upon a morning and an evening prayer. Conclusion: If you walk with God in your particular calling, God will walk with you in your general calling.
1. Then shall your calling be a blessing to you indeed, and you shall have a greater reward than the wealth of your calling.
2. Thereby the knots and difficulties of your callings shall be taken off, and your way made easy.
3. Thereby you shall be kept from the sins and temptations of your calling.
4. Thereby shall your way of godliness be convincing and winning.
(W. Bridge, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.