Our work as calling

Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary in Netflix The Crown, 2016

Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary in Netflix The Crown, 2016

I have been bingeing on The Crown over the holidays, and in one episode I heard some wonderful advice from Queen Mary to her grandchild, the young Queen Elisabeth II about calling:

“Monarchy is God's sacred mission to grace and dignify the earth. To give ordinary people an ideal to strive towards, an example of nobility and duty to raise them in their wretched lives. Monarchy is a calling from God. That is why you are crowned in an abbey, not a government building. Why you are anointed, not appointed. It's an archbishop that puts the crown on your head, not a minister or public servant. Which means that you are answerable to God in your duty, not the public.”

I think there are some important statements here that Queen Elisabeth clearly still follows, as she speaks about the significance of faith, most recently in the Christmas message:

"The Christmas story retains its appeal since it doesn't contain theoretical explanations for the puzzles of life," the 92-year-old monarch said. "Instead, it is about the birth of a child and the hope that birth 2,000 years ago brought to the world. Only a few acknowledged Jesus when he was born, now billions follow him."

However, rather than only monarchy being a sacred calling, I believe all our work is a sacred calling. I believe that we should all see our work as anointed, and that ultimately, we are all answerable to God for how we conduct ourselves in our ordinary working.

Colossians 3:23–24 says:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

The significance of what Queen Mary said impacted on the way Queen Elisabeth viewed her working. If we see our ordinary work as a sacred calling, it should also impact on the way we see our working, as something bigger than us, as something separated from the petty political squabbling and selfish ambition and greed that so mars our working experiences.

I wish that we, like Queen Elisabeth, would be commissioned for our work in our local churches, as this would situate the source of our inspiration and calling in Jesus, rather than the workplace.