Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Protestant Reformation is rightly celebrated for its recovery of the gospel which had been so deeply obscured by the Medieval Church. Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is the doctrine which lay at the center of the Reformation. But the Reformation was also about reforming the church’s worship and governance. The church had corrupted the pure worship of God with superstitions, forbidden images, and the Mass. What is more, instead of the leadership of biblically qualified elders the church was ruled by an unbiblical hierarchy of Popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests.
But there was another matter addressed by the Reformers which often goes unnoticed. The Protestant Reformation smashed the divide between so-called sacred and secular work. The Church of Rome held that the work of priests and church hierarchy was the only holy work. Those seeking admission into the priesthood or monastic life swelled as men desperately sought a way to be justified before God. Having holy employment was seen as one sure way of finding favor with God; a type of access denied to the masses whose work was often seen as an impediment to one’s salvation.
To be sure, the Reformers acknowledged the need for churches to have formally trained ministers set aside for the work of preaching and teaching. The New Testament prescribes such employment. However, they were clear that the work of pastors was no more holy than the work of farmers or blacksmiths or homemakers. To illustrate the point, Martin Luther wrote that changing a baby’s diaper was holy work to done for God’s glory. He commends believers to think of their household tasks in the following way:
O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised.
What joy there is for God’s people in knowing that the smallest task can be done for the glory of God. What comfort there is knowing that work that seems mundane and even purposeless can be offered as an act of holy devotion to the Lord. Dear Christian, your work, no matter how small it may seem to some, need never be in vain.