Read: Matthew 16:13-28.

Spend a moment thinking or talking about what initial thoughts or emotions come to you from this passage.

I always relate to Peter when he cries out, “God forbid it Lord!” He shows our natural inclination to want to avoid suffering—for ourselves and for others. We want to see people live well, and live joyfully.

Jesus speaks the hard truth to us though: not only will he face suffering in service of others—that we, as his followers, must too. Such a truth shows us how Christians understand vocation differently from the rest of the world. The words of Frederick Buechner certainly ring true, that “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” This speaks to a use of our God-given gifts in service of others. But such an understanding of vocation, for Christians, must be housed in the cross of Christ. So for us, there is a recognition that vocations or callings in our lives will also demand great sacrifice, risk, and even at times, suffering, on our part.

Over this next week of devotions, we’ll begin to look at various Biblical stories and modern-day stories that show how vocation is ultimately an expression of the cross. Our vocations point toward the good news of Christ in this way.

For today, ponder a time when you were called on to give deeply of yourself.

  • What compelled you to this service?
  • In what ways were you hesitant?
  • How might God have empowered you for this very work?

Closing Prayer: You who formed us and know us completely, O God, you have chosen us and called us to purposes and ends we do not fully see or understand. Along the way of following Christ, help us to discover the joys of using our gifts to serve. At the same time, may your Spirit make us willing and capable of bearing crosses that come our way, that we might serve faithfully and without reserve, through Christ our Lord, Amen.