A Life of Glad Hatting

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” the Hatter asks Alice at his tea party in Alice in Wonderland. She can’t answer, but then, neither can the Hatter who replies, “I haven’t the slightest idea.” To ask “why” rather than “how” makes the question more perplexing, but such is the fun of nonsense.*1

Rather than Wonderland, we live in Mortaland (containing its share of nonsense) — this present cosmos which had a beginning and will have an ending, culminating in a New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation chapters 21 and 22; note chapter 20 also). I’m not a hatter — a milliner, a maker of hats, although

at times I do wear hats! I doubt you are a hatter of the millinery sort either,   yet we do wear hats, visible or invisible, revealing purpose and callings we’ve been given to fulfill while living in this foyer to the future.*2

Paul, my husband, hanging a baker's rack. Called to serve a friend.

Paul, my husband, wearing his “Honey Do Handy Man” hat, hanging a baker’s rack. Called to serve a friend.

In the last two posts, we’ve been thinking about vocation, one’s calling in life. Ephesians 2:20 informs us that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Hmm. Being created for good works is our calling!


We have to view this calling in light of the context of this verse. The previous verses explain that we are saved through faith in Jesus and that the faith we have is a gift God gives us. So, first we must know we have a need:  we are captive and need to be saved — from the penalty of our sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Sin is “missing the mark,” violating God’s standard, or not being all that God intended us to be. The easy way to recognize our own sin is by reflecting upon the existence of selfish thoughts in our hearts and bad deeds in our lives, mingled with all the good we see in ourselves.. However, the Creator created us to reflect who He is. We are made in His image to be all good.

Something here does not feel “fair” since we know we are not perfect and cannot be all He intended us to be. But then God gives us what we cannot get on our own — forgiveness and a new heart. The beauty is that we are created in God’s image to be like Christ, and amazingly, God intends to do what it takes to complete this goal. What a purpose and calling!

Now, we’re back to the issue of vocation and calling. In Dr. Veith’s book, God at Work, he outlines four categories of callings we each experience.

Every calling presents opportunities to do good. “God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does.”*3

When God answers our prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,”  God answers through the farmer, miller, truck driver, grocer, and usually my employment.  Veith claims this is God at work, thus the title of the book. God is at work in my life working through others, and God is at work in others’ lives, working through me. Reflecting Martin Luther’s teaching, Veith says that “every kind of work” becomes a sacred calling.”*4

Karen, loving on a friend's grandchild at church. A calling within the Body of Christ.

I’m  loving a friend’s grandchild at church. A calling within the Body of Christ.

Four of Veith’s chapter titles provide us the four categories of vocation/calling:

Chapter 5: Your Calling as a Worker

Chapter 6: Your Calling in the Family

Chapter 7: Your calling as a Citizen

Chapter 8: Your Calling in the Church

Within each of these broad circles, we usually have a number of roles or sets of responsibilities and choices. Each role wears a different hat. Thus, when we love and serve others through our various callings, we become Glad Hatters.*5 There is a gladness to our methods! We love God by blessing others with whatever service or product we offer. Glad hatting to you this week!

Time for some feedback.

What hats do you wear?  Describe a time when

wearing one of these hats made you and someone else glad.

*1. Apparently, Lewis Carroll did not intend an answer to this question. While nonsense can only be answered (if at all) by nonsense, we do have many unanswered, reasonable questions. God designed this present world to introduce us to the next, but not to satisfy all our curiosity and concerns in this present lifetime. Thus, mystery and wonder permeate our lives. Ah, there is Wonderland in Mortaland.

*2. If you are a milliner, do write to us and tell us how you got into this vocation and what it means to you and others!

*3. Gene Edward Veith. God at Work. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2002, p. 38. Veith here quotes Gustaf Wingren, a 20th Century Swedish theologian who wrote Luther on Vocation.

*4. Ibid., p.19.

 *5. Oh, the Glad Hatter,  glad hatting business is my crazy idea, not Dr. Veith’s.

Categories: Being Like Jesus | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “A Life of Glad Hatting

  1. ennedear

    Thanks for this post. I learnt many years ago as a young teen that we were put on earth for a purpose to serve. This knowledge led me to asking God to make me his handmaid. The joy one gets from serving is immeasurable and I believe that if we apply the spirit of servitude to our profession, in our homes and around us, the world would be a better place. Fantastic post! 👍

    • kltolsen

      Thank you for your response! You are so right! Thanks for joining us here on JNC! I’d love to hear from you again. God bless you as you bless others!

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