Vocation is a good word to describe your job. ‘Vocation’ means ‘calling’ and using it for your daily work, points to the “calling voice of God” in our lives. We don’t simply serve our ‘boss’ or list of duties. We serve the Lord who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Christians see their work and their world through the lens of the Gospel. God has forgiven us our sin through the work of the Cross of Christ. God has drowned us in the waters of baptism and raised us to new life, to walk by faith, not by sight. This means we see our work and our world through this lens of the love of God at work in and through us. We do not do our duties to earn God’s love. Rather it is because of the love of God, showered upon us in abundance, that we therefore seek to serve God through serving others.
I would like to pray tribute to the servant heart of two Lutheran Christians who have only recently been acknowledged by the Government, for their servant heart.
In December last year, Fred Stolz, past founding principal of Grace Lutheran College, Redcliffe, travelled to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, to receive the PNG Independence Day Order of Logoha which is equivalent to the Australian Order of Australia, for his service to Lutheran Education and for being the inaugural Principal of Balob Teachers College. Balob is the only Lutheran Teachers College in PNG.
Married to Lois, Fred arrived in PNG in 1965 to train teachers, and during his time at Balob, there were 300 students training to serve in the schools of the Church across the Lutheran Communities in Papua New Guinea.
In 1980, Fred was on the new Anzac Avenue campus of Grace Lutheran College in Rothwell, to be founding College Headmaster, with five teachers and 55 students. Under Fred’s 30 years of Christian service, the College grew to its current form of over 1500 students across two campuses: Rothwell and Caboolture. Fred retired as Principal in 2010.
Throughout his time in Australia and New Zealand, Fred has been a profound influence on the work of Lutheran schooling and Lutheran teacher training, continually encouraging others in their work of service in the Church, and always keeping his focus on Christ and his cross.
Fred continues to serve the cause of Christian education in our Church and he belongs to the community of Grace Lutheran Church, Redcliffe.
Warren Truss became a Companion of the Order of Australia in this year’s recent Australia Day Honours. His acknowledgment noted his service “to the Parliament of Australia, particularly in the areas of trade, transport, agriculture, and rural and regional development”.
Warren is a baptised and confirmed Lutheran Christian who grew up in the South Burnett. Married to Lyn, Warren moved from farming to politics across the spectrum of government in Australia. This included the local Burnett Tourism Board and Shire Council, including 7 years as Council Chairman.
Serving Queensland and Australia through the National Party, he was elected to the seat of Wide Bay in 1990 and continued his work in politics until his retirement in 2016. The name “Warren Truss” became well known across Australia when he was elected as leader of the Federal National Party in 2007 and became Deputy Prime Ministry in 2013.
Throughout his time in government, Warren received various awards and the South Burnett Regional Council even named their Kingaroy Chambers after Warren. He continues to serve both Church and State and he has made his home in Hervey Bay where he is a member of the St James Lutheran Church.
Both Warren and Fred have received these awards with humility and graciousness. 1st Corinthians 15, promises that their “labours in the name of their Lord have not been in vain”. Warren and Fred didn’t just “do a job”, they served their Lord Christ Jesus and we thank God that Australia and PNG have recognised their service respectively.
In our country, we have a culture of acclaiming ‘service’. I noted throughout the Australia Day awards, the word “service” was repeated over and over.
I pray that the word and promise of God would nestle deeply into your soul, that you would hear the word “vocation” for your work and that you would see your daily tasks as service to our Lord Christ Jesus.