HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Let every man abide – Let him remain or continue where he or she was planted.
In the same calling – The same occupation, profession, rank of life. We use the word “calling” in the same sense to denote the occupation or profession of a man. Probably the original idea which led people to designate a profession as a Calling was the belief that God called every man to the profession and rank which he occupies; that is, that it is by his “arrangement, or providence,” that he occupies that rank rather than another.
In this way, every man has a Call to the profession in which he is engaged as really as ministers of the gospel, and every man should have as clear evidence that “God has called” him to the sphere of life in which he moves as ministers of the gospel should know that God has called them to their appropriate profession.
This declaration of Paul, that everyone is to remain in the same occupation or rank in which he was when he was converted, is to be taken in a general and not in an unqualified sense. It does not design to teach that a man is in no situation to seek a change in his profession when he becomes pious. But it is intended to show that religion was the friend of order; that it did not disregard or disarrange the relations of social life; that it was suited to produce contentment even in a humble walk and to prevent repinings at a lot of those who were more favoured or happy. That it did not design to prevent all change is apparent from the next verse, and from the nature of the case. some of the circumstances in which a change of condition, or of calling, maybe proper when a man is converted, are the following:
(1) When a man is a slave, and he can obtain his freedom, 1 Corinthians 7:21.
(2) when a man is pursuing a wicked calling or course of life when he was converted, even if it is lucrative, he should abandon it as speedily as possible. Thus, if a man is engaged, as John Newton was, in the slave-trade, he should at once abandon it. If he is engaged in the manufacture or sale of ardent spirits, he should at once forsake the business, even at a great personal sacrifice, and engage in lawful and honourable employment; see the note at Acts 19:19. No considerations can justify a continuance in a course of life like this after a man is converted. No consideration can make a business which is “evil, and only evil, and that continually,” proper or right.
(3) where a man can increase his usefulness by choosing a new profession. Thus, the usefulness of many a man is greatly promoted by his leaving an agricultural, or mechanical employment; or by his leaving the bar, or the mercantile profession, and becoming a minister of the gospel. In such situations, religion not only permits a man to change his profession, but it demands it; nor will God smile upon him, or bless him, unless the change is made. An opportunity to become more useful imposes an obligation to change the course of life. And no man is permitted to waste his life and talents in a mere scheme of money-making, or in self-indulgence when by changing his calling he can do more for the salvation of the world.