Many Christians today wonder what we can do to make a difference in our world. Of course, there are many good and biblical answers to that question, starting with faithfulness in worship and prayer, spilling over into fellowship/community and mercy ministry towards the poor. But nearly 100 years ago, J. Gresham Machen gave counsel to Christians focused on vocation, and his direction is entirely appropriate today. Here is a summary of his message in today's words:
“𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗹𝘂𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝗳 𝗚𝗼𝗱'𝘀 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗥𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗱𝗼𝗰𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘃𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗚𝗼𝗱'𝘀 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝗰𝗵𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗼 𝗶𝗻 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗿 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗮𝘀𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲. 𝗧𝗼 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵, 𝗼𝗻 𝗮 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗺𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀, 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗻𝘀, 𝗻𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀, 𝗳𝗶𝗹𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀, 𝗷𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀, 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘆𝘀, 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀, 𝘀𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀, 𝗯𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗲𝘅𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲, 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗰𝗵 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗿 𝘃𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻-𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝘂𝘀𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗱, 𝘄𝗶𝗳𝗲, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁--𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘆, 𝗮 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗚𝗼𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗯𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗚𝗼𝗱'𝘀 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘁𝗵. 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗳𝗶𝗲𝗹𝗱𝘀, 𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗿-𝘁𝗼-𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿𝘀, 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝘀𝘀𝘂𝗺𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗯𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘃𝗮𝗽𝗶𝗱 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗲́𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗼𝗽 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲.”
This perspective is exactly right. The gospel gives rise to a particular kind of culture, and we have far too little of it in our own day because we have not allowed the leaven of the gospel to permeate our vocations as it should. One of the greatest needs today is for Christians to produce culture, culture that is good, beautiful, and true, culture that is worthy of the gospel. All too often we are focused on consuming culture produced by others, but why shouldn't we be the ones producing culture that reflects our own convictions? Christian households, Christian schools, and Christian businesses should all be at work producing culture that is rooted in the gospel. As Machen pointed out in his day, we need to cultivate Christian artists, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, and so on. But today we can add that we need Christian cloud and internet developers, app designers, social media influencers, and builders of financial institutions. God intends for the kingdom of Christ to invade, colonize, and transform the kingdoms of this world. His plan is to use his Spirit-empowered people in fulfilling this mission. There is obviously a lot of work to be done -- and the work God calls us to do each day matters to that mission!