Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Links to Interesting Articles

  • God The Great Janitor? Jim Mullins shares four of the main ways that janitors, and people with similar occupations, display the actions and attributes of God through their work.
  • How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge, Part 2. In this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley concludes his conversation with Clay Scroggins abouthow to leverage influence when you lack authority.
  • 2017 NFL Hall of Fame Leadership Quotes and Lessons from Kurt Warner. Kurt Warner was my favorite NFL player. A great example of someone integrating their faith and work. I’m thankful to Brian Dodd for capturing these quotes from Warner’s Hall of Fame speech.
  • Giving Servant Leadership the Works:  An Interview with Ken Melrose.In this interview, The High Calling talks to Ken Melrose, former CEO of the Toro Company, about how faith informs work and vice versa.
  • Luther on Vocation: Michael Horton. In this episode of the 5 Minutes in Church History podcast, Steven Nichols visits with Michael Horton about Martin Luther and the doctrine of vocation.
  • Peter: The Submissive Leader. John MacArthur writes “Character is absolutely critical in leadership. America’s current moral decline is directly linked to the fact that we have elected, appointed, and hired too many leaders who have no character.”
  • Cultivated Podcast. Check out this new podcast on faith and work. Enjoy interviews with Steve Taylor, Andy Crouch, Propaganda and others.
  • Do You See Work as a Platform or a Prison? Chris Patton writes “Too many Christians see their work as a prison.  It is a required part of their week, but it is not something they enjoy.  When asked for their reasons, the answers vary, but there is a recurring theme. Most view their work as a necessary evil instead of a source of joy and an opportunity for impact.  Very few would consider their work as a platform.”

  • 12 Basic Principles for Faith and Work.Dan Doriani writes “We can follow in Jesus’s footsteps as we work. It’s both our calling and our privilege, as men and women recreated in God’s image.”
  • True Leading is Serving. Randy Alcorn writes “But if we’re broken, humble, quick to admit and confess our weaknesses and sins, and ready to serve, God will shed His grace upon us, comfort us, and empower us. Then, and only then, will we be Christ-like and Christ-exalting. Then, and only then, will we be leaders worth following.”
  • Christians in Business: The Triple Bottom Line Through a Biblical Lens. Hugh Whelchel writes “We would suggest that as believers, we are called to work for a somewhat different triple bottom line: one that produces economic (physical), social, and spiritual returns. This is true for each of us individually and it should be true of the organizations that God has given some of us the privilege of building, growing, and operating.”
  • How the Sabbath Keeps Work from Being the Meaning of Our Lives. Hugh Whelchel writes “We should love the vocational work God has given us so much that he makes us take off a day every week. Let Sabbath rest rejuvenate you and your work.”
  • All Work, Especially Yours, Is God’s Work.Scott Sauls writes “Whether our work is done at home or out in the community, as volunteers or for a paycheck, an essential question has to do with how faith relates to our work.”
  • One Very Sobering Leadership Principle. Ron Edmondson writes “Who you are in your private life impacts who you are in your professional life.”
  • The Tension of Being Young in the Workplace. Jessica Schroeder writes “If you’re a young person in the workplace, you may be feeling a mix of emotions about your work. As exciting and rewarding as your job may be, you likely feel the inherent tensions that come with being the age you are.”
  • The Counterintuitive Path to Biblical Success. Art Lindsley write “The biblical definition of success is counterintuitive to what the world tells us. Biblical success is not necessarily winning, coming out on top, or getting the most recognition. Instead, it is faithfully maximizing your God-given gifts to the best of your ability and to God’s glory.”
  • Global Leadership Summit Highlights Video. Watch this three-minute video from the recent leadership event.
  • When I go into a restaurant, the waitress who brings me my meal, the cook in the back who prepared it, the delivery men, the wholesalers, the workers in the food-processing factories, the butchers, the farmers, the ranchers, and everyone else in the economic food chain are all being used by God to “give me this day my daily bread.” Gene Veith
  • All our work in the field, in the garden, in the city, in the home, in struggle, in government-to what does it all amount before God except child’s play, by means of which God is pleased to give his gifts in the field, at home, and everywhere? These are the masks of our Lord God, behind which he wants to be hidden and to do all things. Martin Luther
  • Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln
  • Work is not primarily a thing one does to live but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God. Dorothy Sayers
  • The book of Genesis leaves us with a striking truth-work was part of paradise. Tim Keller
  • God is busy about his work in the midst of your work whether you realize it or not.  The laundry, the spreadsheets, the phone calls, and the cups of coffee are all deeply spiritual because God is at work in the world. He is serving your family, your coworkers, and your community through the work you do.  God is at work providing “daily bread” through the work that you do, no matter what that work is. RJ Grunewald
  • How does your work life – whatever that may look like – reflect your love for God? Alistair Begg
  • A career is what I’m paid to do. A calling is what I’m made to do. Brian Houston  
  • If we’re seeking fulfillment in a spouse, a job, our experiences or financial status, rather than in Christ, we’ll be horribly disappointed. Nick Batzig

Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture by R. Paul Stevens. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing . 184 pages. 2012
****

The author writes that this book is both a systematic theology of vocation and a spiritual theology of personal transformation. It is a book that engages both the head and heart. It is an approach to a comprehensive biblical theology of work, but it is certainly readable for those who don’t consider themselves to be theologians.
The author provides an introduction to each major section of the Bible, and then follows with stories of people in the Bible who are workers. He includes helpful discussion and reflection questions at the end of each chapter that can be used in study and discussion groups. Summaries of each major portion of Scripture are found at the end of each part. The epilogue reflects on how we should work in light of the preceding discussion.
The author shows us that throughout the Bible we see different images of God as a worker – a gardener (Gen. 2:8), shepherd (Ps. 23), potter (Jer. 18:6), physician (Matt. 8:16), teacher (Ps. 143:10), vineyard-dresser (Isa. 5:1-7), and metalworker and refiner (Mal. 3:2-3; Ezek. 22:20), to name only a few. He tells us that we are also made in the image of God as workers. We are called to work as God does (Gen. 1:28), and that calling does not stop at sixty-five or some arbitrary retirement age. He writes that there is no concept of retirement in the Bible.
He writes that we should make no distinction between sacred and secular work. In God’s design, there is no dualism – sacred and secular. What makes work God-pleasing and God-blessed is not that God’s name and Word are spoken out loud but that the work is done in love, faith, and hope.  He states that the command to work was given before the fall and hence work is meant to be a blessing, not a curse. Toil, bad work, and the idolatry of work are the results of the fall.  If it is true that all human work that embodies God’s values and serves God’s goals is rightly called God’s work, then it follows that the old distinction between sacred work and so-called secular work can no longer be maintained.
He tells us that the most fundamental fact about calling and living vocationally is that we are first of all called to Someone before we are called to do something.
We all have a vocation, a calling, which is much more than a career. A career is something we choose, something we push to succeed in. But a calling is something for which we are summoned.
He writes that all believers are providentially sent by God into workplaces as missionaries. In these workplaces, we bear witness both by deed and word.
And although some believers may not see the value of our work because they believe it to be temporal, the author writes that our final destiny is not a workless utopia but a renewed world in which we will work with infinite creativity and fulfillment.
As the author takes us through the Bible, he shares how individuals such as Joshua, Ruth, Esther, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jesus and Paul did their work.  I appreciated the approach the author took in this book, showing work throughout the Biblical record. Highly recommended for those exploring the value of work and integrating it with their faith.

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans  Knopf. 274 pages. 2016

This is a very helpful book to read – I first heard about it from the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. This week we look at Chapter 5 Design Your Lives: 

  • Where people go wrong (regardless of their age, education, or career path) is thinking they just need to come up with a plan for their lives and it will be smooth sailing. If only they make the right choice (the best, true, only choice), they will have a blueprint for who they will be, what they will do, and how they will live.
  • We all contain enough energy and talents and interests to live many different types of lives, all of which could be authentic and interesting and productive.
  • We’re going to ask you to imagine and write up three different versions of the next five years of your life. We call these Odyssey Plans.
  • The conclusion is that if your mind starts with multiple ideas in parallel, it is not prematurely committed to one path and stays more open and able to receive and conceive more novel innovations. Designers have known this all along—you don’t want to start with just one idea, or you’re likely to get stuck with it.
  • Life One—That Thing You Do. Your first plan is centered on what you’ve already got in mind—either your current life expanded forward or that hot idea you’ve been nursing for some time. This is the idea you already have—it’s a good one and it deserves attention in this exercise.
  • Life Two—That Thing You’d Do If Thing One Were Suddenly Gone.  Just imagine that your life one idea is suddenly over or no longer an option. What would you do?
  • Life Three—The Thing You’d Do or the Life You’d Live If Money or Image Were No Object.
  • Odyssey Plans can define important things still to do in our lives, and help us remember dreams we may have forgotten.
  • Life design is about generating options, and this exercise of designing multiple lives will guide you in whatever’s next for you. You aren’t designing the rest of your life; you are designing what’s next.
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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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