Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Need to Determine Your Calling? Here’s some Helpful Resources

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faith-work-cultureI’ve long had an interest in doing my work for the Lord. My favorite verses from scripture on this are Colossians 3:23-24:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

When I read John Piper’s 1997 book of short readings A Godward Life, one of the meditations “Lord-Focused Living at Work” particularly resonated with me, and has to this day. In the meditation, Piper looks at Ephesians 6:7-8, and tells us that Paul says that our work should be done as work for Christ, not for any human supervisor. For years, when I still carried a portfolio (we carry laptops now), I kept a laminated copy of that article in my notebook and shared it with many, including my supervisors.

Even back then I was striving to do my work primarily for the Lord, not for advancement, accolades, or a higher performance rating. But other than Piper’s article I didn’t see much out there in sermons, books, etc. to continue my journey of integrating my faith and work. Today it’s much different. There is a plethora of resources available and I’d like to point you to some.

The best book I’ve read on the subject and the one that has most motivated me in this area is Tim Keller’s book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, which I read in late 2012, while recovering from sinus surgery. Theologically rich and yet still practical, this book started my dream to establish something similar to Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s Center for Faith and Work in my community.

In the summer of 2013 I had a Calling, Vocation and Work class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Theological Seminary. In the paper I wrote on my vocation of leadership:

“My aim as a leader is, as John Piper has written, to make my life count for the glory of God in my secular vocation. I look to joyfully magnify Christ, to make him look great, in all I do. I agree with Tim Keller when he writes that my daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped me to do it.”

I went on to write: “The Bible has a high view of work. Keller writes that in the beginning God worked for the sheer joy of it. Work was a part of the pre-fall Garden. Work has dignity because it is something that God does and because we do it in God’s place as His representatives. Work is a way to serve God through creativity, particularly in the creation of culture God invites us into His work. John Calvin said that God was a worker, and as a result, so are we.”

I have become interested in the subject of calling. The best book on this subject that I’ve read is The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness. I read that book for the first time in Dr. Phillip Douglass’ wonderful Spiritual and Ministry Formation class, my last class in seminary. Guinness tells us that there is no calling unless there is a caller. In defining calling, he writes: “What do I mean by ‘calling’? For the moment let me say simply that calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.”

He writes that calling will remain a mystery unless there is something or “Someone” to whom we are responsible to and that if there is no Caller, there are no callings—only work.

A new book directed to a mass audience on the subject of calling is The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins. I just finished that book and will post a review soon. It is very readable and a good introduction to a more secular view of calling.

So what am I doing now about my calling and integrating faith and work? Here are a few things:

I would encourage you to pursue your calling, do your work for the Lord by integrating your faith and work.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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