At this point in history vocation has taken on a new meaning. Vocations after the reformation now looked to the occupation that one has as well as their calling from God. The following writing is from the 1600's and outlines Richard Baxter's perspective of the relationship between occupation and calling. Baxter was writing during a time in which he was opposed to the government forces and churches having bishops. His non-conformist attitude displays an interesting thought process in his writing. Vocations in this era seemed to be divided between the church and government. One had a menial job which served the public good and an even greater calling from God. Baxter displays his opinion on vocation and how one's lifestyle choices can be beneficial to one's calling and labor.
Baxter writes about the connection between calling and ordinary labor and outlines brief points from multiple perspectives. Baxter talks about labor being necessary for one's well being of the mind and body. He digs further into the mind and body argument stating that labor is necessary for the faculties of the mind and exercise of the body is essential for the functioning of the mind. Baxter talks about labor's ability to keep the body busy and giving the mind time to rest. Baxter talks about the relation between labor and wages. He states that those who are rich with wages should do the most work because they need to show their gratitude to God for their external wealth. Baxter outlines how health and life can remain in unity with labor and when one allows labor to distract mind from temptations. Labor is powerful to the well being and beneficial; where idleness allows one to seek temptation and lead a menial life. Baxter later addresses that one can have a good occupation but use it to do evil labor, he says, "An unlawful calling is a life of sin." Work should serve the public good and lift others up, therefore serving God by serving others. Baxter concludes that one should discover their calling by what pleases their soul not their pockets.
Baxter discusses vocation, labor, and calling as if it is a natural part of the human experience. I really appreciate his writing and perspective, because I also feel that feeling called to do something and finding a way to serve others through my labor is a very natural part of the human experience. Reading Baxter inspires me to remind myself of the importance to cater to my mind and body and honor that which God gave me to serve the public good and his Holy name. Idleness is often where I fall short and where temptation consumes my whole being so I see no other choice but to continue to labor to serve others and find ways to live out my calling. I know that God has called me to create accepting multicultural environments through art, but maybe there is more to it than I know and I just need to keep pursuing that calling to find out if there is more. This reading has brought clarity to my thoughts and reassurance that all is well when I listen to my soul, not society.