Theologian Robert Smith Jr. urged students at Liberty University last week to be in the world but not of the world, charging them with following a calling, not a job.
Smith, who is professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, spoke during last Friday's Convocation –a gathering for Liberty University students every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Vines Center –about trusting in the Lord, not government. He focused his speech on trusting the plan of God and using it as a vision, citing from Jeremiah 29:10-11. Smith told the students that God should be their vision because God knows the plans that He has for them. "God is always going before us to plan our lives," Smith said. "He is our vision. We don't need another one."
Smith went on to say, "I don't know where you are going when you leave here, but God orchestrates your life providentially so that there's nothing done by accident, by incident, by coincidence. Everything is done by providence. He is your vision. He will bring you out."
In a very firm tone, the professor told students, "Stop complaining. Stop whining. Stop saying I'd be a better husband if I had a better wife. I'd be a better student if I had a better teacher. I'd be a better believer if I had a better pastor."
In a charge to students, Smith told them not to look for jobs. "When you go back in the world, you don't go back to get a job. Christians don't have jobs, Christians have ministry. If you're a cosmetologist, you don't have a job, you have a ministry. If you're a sanitation worker, you don't have a job, you have a ministry."
The Winter 2013 edition of the Leadership Journal highlights callings and vocations. Several articles mention that there is a need for a different way of thinking of vocations within the church. One article discusses pastors often preaching 'guilt-inducing' messages towards parishioners, illustrating a secular/sacred divide were the "sacred" callings of the church and its clergy are held in higher value than their "secular" jobs in the world.
At the Convocation, Smith stated, "Whatever you may have, whether it's parachurch, church, or whatever, you have a ministry so that you can show forth His salvation day after day."
Smith also cautioned the students to not have an ultimate allegiance to the government but have it to God. "You and I are dual citizens; citizens of heaven and citizens of earth," Smith stated.
Other speakers this semester have included Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
Upcoming speakers for this semester include Christian relationship counselors and best-selling authors Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and CBS' NFL Today host James Brown.