Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles:

REST:

  • Work Is Not Your Life: Why Sabbath Rest Is Essential. Hugh Whelchel writes “God rested not because he was tired, but because he had completed his work. God wanted to teach us that work is not an end in itself, which is why he instituted the Sabbath.”
  • How to Embrace Rest When Work Never Ends. Courtney Reisigg writes “Since work is a fluid part of my life (as a stay at home mom), with no real beginning and end, a question keeps arising in my own mind, and maybe in yours as well: What’s the difference between rest and play?” 
  • How to Harness Sleep to Boost Your Productivity. Michael Hyatt writes “When we face time crunches, sleep is often the first thing to get cut. It may seem efficient and even smart at the time, but it’s not.”
  • A Christian’s Secret Weapon to Prevent Burnout: Shalom. Hugh Whelchel writes “We must learn to live lives that are integrated around a single, common purpose. Here, we as believers have a secret weapon in the war against burnout. Our singular purpose is to glorify God, fulfilling this mission by living lives based on his design and desire.”

WORKING AT HOME:

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE:

  • Every Role in the Assembly Line Matters. Bethany Jenkins interviews Matt Carter, pastor of preaching and vision at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas about how he integrates his faith and work.

YOUR PURPOSE:

  • The Why. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states your why is your purpose.When you find your WHY you find your Way. Lose your WHY you lose your way.
  • What’s the Purpose of Business? HINT: It’s Not Maximizing Shareholder Value. Hugh Whelchel writes “Work was given to us by God as a tool to bring about flourishing for his creation. We all need to act purposefully to see that it is used for this end.”
  • Only One Platform Will Last. Karen Swallow Prior writes “Our real platform is the life we are living and the work and ministry we are already doing. Platform is our proven track record and the authority we’ve gained in whatever area God has called us to—whether we work out of the home and take care of children, or teach and research as a professor.”
  • Why Don’t All Jobs Matter?Paul Krugman writes “I don’t want to sound unsympathetic to miners and industrial workers. Yes, their jobs matter. But all jobs matter. And while we can’t ensure that any particular job endures, we can and should ensure that a decent life endures even when a job doesn’t.”


YOUR FAITH IN THE WORKPLACE:

  • Faith in the Workplace. Ronnie Floyd shares four ways you can integrate your faith into the workplace.
  • When Your Job Feels Like Salvation By Works. Hunter Powell writes “While we revel in our salvation from works and know God accepts on Sundays, we often become slaves to our work and worry about him accepting us on weekdays.”
  • Are We Living a “Driven” or a “Called” Life? Scotty Smith prays “Father, only your perfect love can liberate us from our performance-ism and perfectionism. Drive out our pride, fears, and greed by a greater grasp of your grace.”
  • Transparency.  In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states a leader’s openness and willingness to admit weaknesses and mistakes helps build trust with their followers.
  • Forgiveness to Infinity and Beyond. Judi Mayne of the Higher Calling writes “Daily work offers many opportunities to forgive. When a coworker takes credit for my idea, when someone spitefully gossips about me, when the raise bypasses me, or I am unjustly terminated. I have a choice. I can remember my own need for forgiveness and choose to forgive as God forgives me, resulting in freedom for myself as well. Or I can choose to remain bound by bitterness, unable to either accept God’s forgiveness of me or offer it to another.”

BY THE NUMBERS:

  • Three Indications of Really Bad Leadership. Eric Geiger writes “To be a good leader, choose compassion over cruelty, clarity over chaos, and humility over self-consumption.”
  • 4 Ways Christians Can Stand Out at Work. Bethany Jenkins writes “As Christians, may we take every opportunity to testify to the compassion, generosity, steadfastness, and authenticity of Jesus. And when we—as sinners—inevitably fail at displaying his fullness, may we also be people who are quick to seek forgiveness from others and God, knowing that our righteousness is found in Christ alone.”
  • 5 Ways to Answer Self Importance and Move Toward Humility.Dan Rockwell writes “It’s true that in the hierarchy of organizational life, you may be over others. Blindness occurs when ‘being over’ translates into feeling ‘better than’.”
  • 5 Simple Steps to Greater Work-Life Balance. Dr. Alan Zimmerman, in this “Tuesday Tip”, writes “Certainly, we all have to deal with genetics, accidents, and other factors over which we have no control. But if you will do the following five things to get rid of your unhealthy habits, your future will be phenomenal.”
  • 5 Key Principles Every Leader Should Master. Carey Nieuwhof writes “if you do stay focused on these 5 things, I believe you’ll see a marked improvement in your leadership and character. And that can only be a good thing.”
  • 5 Core Essentials Far Too Many Christian Leaders. Stupidly Sacrifice. Carey Nieuwhof writes that all five arerelated to self-care. “Sadly, in the name of caring for others, many leaders neglect to care for themselves. And that’s a mistake.”
  • Six Days Shall You Worship. Marlo Schalesky writes at The Higher Calling “In the end, Psalm 100 tells us that worship happens every day, even on work days.  It’s not just a Sunday event.  So work with gladness, grace, and humility, knowing that we are worshipping our real boss in heaven.”
  • 7 Things Every Leader Should Banish Starting Today. Carey Nieuwhof writes “I’ve found that as I’ve grown as a leader, I’ve regularly had to change how I think, how I lead and even what I say.”
  • 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People. Dave Kraft writes “Stephen Covey wrote a book describing the seven habits of highly effective people. Well, if there are habits that people can acquire to make them effective, then there are also habits that leaders will want to avoid or break that cause them to be ineffective.”
  • 10 Ways to Find More Energy Today. A lot of leaders are always tired and living on empty. Dan Rockwell offers this helpful list of ways to find more energy.
  • 10 Ways to Add Value to People (and Organizations) as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “The older I get and the longer I lead the less I care about personal recognition and the more important it is to me that what I’m doing as a leader really matters.”

ETC….

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • I feel responsible to be a spiritual influence in my workplace in many ways. One of them is by being good to the employees and exceeding their expectations. If your light is going to shine, your actions should confirm what you say. If your actions don’t confirm what you say, then you confuse those around you. Anne Beiler, founder and CEO of Auntie Anne’s
  • Influential leaders expect more from themselves than they expect from others. Dan Rockwell
  • How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life? Dorothy Sayers
  • Wherever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand, in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science, he is, in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of his God, he is employed in the service of his God, he has strictly to obey his God, and above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God. Abraham Kuyper
  • If you cannot worship the Lord in the midst of your responsibilities on Monday, it is not very likely that you were worshiping on Sunday. A.W. Tozer 
  • .. begins the moment you are more concerned about others’ flourishing than you are about your own. Elliot Grudem
  • If you make any work the purpose of your life—even if that work is church ministry—you create an idol that rivals God. Tim Keller
  • A vocation or calling is a certain kind of life, ordained and imposed on man by God for the common good.William Perkins
  • Leaders get credit for what they didn’t do right and blamed for what they didn’t do wrong. If we accept that, we find peace. Dan Doriani

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God by Courtney Reissig. Crossway. 160 pages. 2017
****

I read a lot of books about our callings, the value of our work, and how to integrate or connect our faith and work. This helpful book brings a unique perspective to the faith and work discussion as it looks at the value of the work of a stay at home mom.
The author looks at how doing stay-at-home work means something completely different for her than it did for her mother and grandmother. She writes that in many ways that is due to the shift in how we view the nature of at-home work itself. She shows how we have moved from the idea of a housewife to a stay at home mom.
She writes that moms are tired. They are weary of the pressure to live up to expectations and ideals that no human being could ever attain. On one hand, they hear that their work at home is the pinnacle of greatness, and on the other they hear that they are letting down women everywhere by staying home instead of taking advantage of the strides women have made in the workplace. She states that instead of looking at their work as stay at home moms through God’s eyes, many look at it through their own—and wonder if they measure up.
She writes that many wonder about the work of a stay at home mom. Does it matter? Is it simply a way to survive? Is there something more to see in the dirty diapers, temper tantrums, dishwashing, and repetitive nature of housework?  Does it have value? Does it serve a greater purpose? Or is it too mundane? Too daily? Too frustrating? Too inefficient?  She tells us that the way forward to find meaning in at-home work is by seeing how it fits in the larger scheme of community, culture, and life. She tells us that she has learned that God is glorified in the mundane work as much as He is in the magnificent. In fact, it is the mundane moments, the moments where we live each and every day, where we come to see the true greatness of God and his love for us.
She writes about the curse of work due to the fall, and how that curse impacts work at home. Stay at home moms wonder if there is something else beyond the cycle of mundane tasks that they do every day.
A contributing factor to disillusionment with at-home work is that stay at home moms aren’t paid for it.  She writes that it is important to see work as a contribution, and not always with a dollar sign attached to it. She writes of the fine line between valuing unpaid work and providing people with the compensation they deserve for their work.  She writes that work is not simply about closing a business deal, teaching a class full of children, or discovering a new treatment for a disease. It is also about loving and serving our neighbor.
She states that we are living in a time when being ordinary is the worst thing that can happen to a person, and nothing screams ordinary like at-home work.  Many feel a strong desire to do something radical with their lives, to not waste it. And at times it may feel wasteful to spend your life on at-home work. But she correctly states that is not the way God views your work. No, He sees the work of a stay at home mom and delights in it.
She tells us that we were created to work because God himself works. It is a function of being image bearers. Everything we do, whether it is work in the home or outside of the home, is imaging the God who made us to work. Because we bear His image, stay at home moms are imaging Him with every task they accomplish in their homes on any given day.
She talks about how at home work is a way to love God by loving others. She quotes Martin Luther who said that if our work is not done for the good of our neighbor, then it is of no real value.  Work at home is actually a God-given opportunity to serve your neighbor with your good works. It is an opportunity to love others (including your spouse, children, neighbors, aging parents, etc.), in Jesus’s name.
She writes about collaboration and community, and says it is so important to stay-at-home moms that an entire industry has been built around women writing strictly about the mom life, called “mommy bloggers.”
She writes about the important subject of rest, another way we bear God’s image.  After God worked to bring forth creation, he rested. Because of sin, all work exhausts us on some level. Although not a stay at home mom, I appreciated her thought that this side of heaven we will always face the tension of incomplete work in the midst of rest.  That is an idea that is good for all of us to embrace.
She states that in our Christian subculture, at-home work is praised as good and faithful work. But she correctly states that if you find your hope and identity in folded laundry, a spotless refrigerator, and children who praise you from the rooftops, you have misplaced affections regarding your work.
She writes of the idea of the “supermom”, the myth of “having it all” and the temptation for stay at home moms to compare themselves to others. The comparison leads to envy, discontentment and guilt.
She writes that as believers, our work is preparing us to rule and reign with Christ in a new earth, where the curse is gone, and we will work for God’s glory, always. She helpfully states that Christians work differently, in every kind of work, because we work for the Lord (not others) and we work hopefully (for the future). It’s good work, meaningful work and work that matters to God.
Each chapter ends with a “Getting Practical” section in which the author drives the point home that the work of a stay at home mom has value by seeing it through the life of another stay at home mom.
Highly recommended, not only for stay at home moms, but for all of us.

FAITH AND WORK BOOK CLUBS – Won’t you read along with us?

Work and Our Labor in the Lord (Short Studies in Biblical Theology) by James M. Hamilton Jr. Crossway. 128 pages. 2017

This week we complete our reading of James M. Hamilton Jr’s new book Work and Our Labor in the Lord.   The book is described as follows:
“Work has been a part of God’s good creation since before the fall—created to reflect his image and glory to the world. What are we to make of this when work today is all too often characterized by unwanted toil, pain, and futility?
In this book pastor, professor, and biblical scholar James Hamilton explores how work fits into the big story of the Bible; revealing the glory that God intended when he gave man work to do, the ruin that came as a result of the fall, and the redemption yet to come, offering hope for flourishing in the midst of fallen futility.” This week we finish our look at the book by looking at Chapter 4 – Restoration Work in the New Heavens and the New Earth and the Conclusion:

  • What will work look like in the new heavens and the new earth? The new work we will do is the work of ruling and subduing, working and keeping, exercising dominion and rendering judgment, all as God’s people in God’s place in God’s way.
  • Under King Jesus, the new heavens and the new earth will be ruled by those who exercise the dominion that he reclaimed, those whom he made a kingdom and priests.
  • In that cosmic temple, the people who belong to Jesus, who have been transformed into his image, will rule and subdue, work and keep, and no snake will ever enter that garden to speak lies to the bride of Christ.
  • Jesus will come and make it so that mankind can do the work in the world that God created us to do.
  • God built us to do something, and in the new heavens and the new earth we will be liberated to do the work for which God fitted us when he formed us in the womb.  We can scarcely imagine it, but everything that makes work miserable here will be removed.  Never again will we fear that our work is futile, vain, monotonous, or meaningless, because we will see clearly that the significance of our work springs from the one we serve.
  • In such a place under such a king, we who were created to work will finally be doing what we were made to do. Sin and frustrations removed. Death no more.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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