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

  • Finding Dignity on the Assembly Line. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “Vermeer makes large-scale farming and industrial equipment—things like balers, directional drills, and compost turners. The place is run by a family that’s serious about faith and work and has been puzzling over how to fill those job openings.”
  • My Daily Fight at the Hospital. Kelly Mott writes “My job involves serving, showing value, and loving well, especially in times of loss. I don’t believe I could endure this job without my Christian faith. I would be crushed by the weight of lament. I am better at my job when I feel a deep sense of purpose and connection in my relationships with my patients. Braving pain, showing value, and choosing connection are ways I express my faith at work. I show families through my time, actions, compassion, and therapy that their loved one is important, special, valuable, and cared for.”
  • How a Mortgage Company Is Loving its Neighbors. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “Movement is trying to take Sunday to Monday, for both believers and unbelievers.”

  • How Do I Find God’s Will for My Life? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “It would be helpful to know what God has for me, but I don’t even know where to begin this process, other than to pray. How can I discover God’s calling over my life? Where do I even begin?”
  • What is Your Calling? Charles Spurgeon writes “Therefore do not be discontented with your calling. Whatever God has made your position or your work, remain in that, unless you are quite sure that He calls you to something else. Let your first concern be to glorify God to the best of your ability where you are.”
  • Stuck in the Wrong Job? Five Practical Tips from a Biblical Perspective. Hugh Whelchel writes “The reality is that some people, whether recent graduates or not, do indeed get stuck in the wrong job and need guidance. Most people would tell them to quit and go find something else. But depending on the job market, that may not be easy, or even possible. There are many reasons people may not be able to leave their current job: a tough economy, family commitments, or limited opportunities in their field. So, what do you tell someone who is stuck in the wrong job?”
  • If Work Matters to God, What About Vacation? David Leonard writes “Instead of working in order to play, the order gets reversed: we seek out rest and leisure to prepare ourselves for work.”

RETIREMENT:

  • How to “Refire” After Retirement. Luke Bobo and Lawrence Ward write “Retirees reflect God by working, even after weekly compensated work ends. Many retirees are not following the often advertised narrative of enjoying bountiful leisure and rest. Many retirees desire to do meaningful work. Yet, retirees are often not part of the faith, work, and economic wisdom conversation, but they have much to offer us.”
  • Reframing Retirement: Living with Purpose After Your Career. Paul Akin writes “Today, unprecedented opportunities abound for retirees (all of ages) to engage meaningfully in God’s mission. I would argue that retirees, not millennials, are positioned and poised to make the greatest impact for the Great Commission in the next two decades.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’

  • How Your Ordinary Work is Filled with Glory. RuthAnne Irvin reviews Courtney Reisigg’s helpful book Glory in the Ordinary, a book about the work of a stay at home mom.
  • The Key to Being Emotionally Fulfilled in Your Work. Hugh Whelchel writes “There is great emotional reward in understanding that our work through Christ is important to God. When done this way, our best is always “good enough,” and it’s irrelevant to compare ourselves to others. We work to please our Master alone, and in the end hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
  • 5 Ways Your Work Can Be a Blessing. Nicholas Davis writes “As God’s image bearers, we are called to work just as God worked in the creation of the world. We often forget that God’s command to perform work was given before Adam’s fall and exile from Eden, not after! Here are five encouragements for all who labor in life’s various vocations.”
  • 5 Warning Signs of Moral Failure. Eric Geiger writes “Moral failure. For as long as I can remember people have used that term to succinctly describe a disqualifying behavior in a leader’s life, often some type of sexual sin. The leader has failed to live up to the expected morals and integrity of a leader and has lost the moral authority and credibility to lead.”
  • Launching Your Graduate: Three Biblical Lessons. Gary Hansen writes “Out of my own experience and what I have learned from meeting with hundreds of individuals, I have discovered three important things graduates should keep in mind during this season of celebration.”
  • Five Things to Know Before Taking Your First Job. Elise Daniel writes “Here are five things I wish I had known before my first full-time job—things that your campus career center won’t tell you.”
  • The Four Postures Toward Faith in the Workplace. Jeff Haanen writes “There are four main positions that businesses and corporations take when it comes to the role of faith in the workplace.”
  • Work and the Great Commission. Most Christian business people are bored in church, and in life. How can your calling at work be reconciled with everyone’s calling to make Christ known amongst all the nations? Watch this message from J.D. Greear.
  • Working When It Hurts. Kara Bettis writes “Figuring out the work God has for you is “common to all Christians, whether you’re working a 9-to-5 or being a firefighter or staying at home figuring out what you’re doing next,” said Caley Goins, a 25-year-old with an aggressive from of ulcerative colitis.”
  • The Parable of the Talents. In this message from the Gospel at Work Conference, Greg Gilbert, co-writer of The Gospel at Work addresses the following questions: How do we use our talents and our resources wisely? How do we turn our energy at work toward King Jesus’ goals?
  • Do the Next Thing: A Mother’s Gratitude for Elisabeth Elliot. Adrien Segal writes “Here was a woman who knew God. Here was a woman willing to serve God no matter where he called her.”
  • Six Years On. Carl Trueman writes “And so I now wonder about bi-vocational ministry.  Given that it was comparatively easy for me, since my other job – seminary professor – coordinated nicely with my pastoral calling, how hard would it be for others?”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Power, approval, comfort, and control are meta-idols that hold sway over our daily lives. Tim Keller
  • In America, leaders crave recognition and credit. In Jesus, leaders think less of themselves, and give credit to others. Scott Sauls
  • The biblical worldview has the highest opinion of the most menial of work. Tim Keller
  • We go to work for the same reason we go to church: to worship the Lord. Chris Larson
  • In America, what matters most are the results we produce. In Jesus, what matters most is the kind of people we are becoming. Scott Sauls
  • Since God is in charge, you can be called to a vocation, but not called to be successful in that vocation. Tim Keller
  • We are most happy when we are doing and being what God created us to do and to be. Steve Nichols
  • Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service. Charles Spurgeon
  • Don’t devote your life to doing something big. Devote yourself instead to a good direction, and then do all the small things that God commands. Every day. Over and over and over. Then a day just might come when you discover you’ve accomplished something big. Jonathan Leeman

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW

Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders. Moody Publishers. 208 pages. Updated edition.
****

The author was a general director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship, (then known as China Inland Mission), in the 1950s and 1960s. The material in this book was originally delivered as lectures to the Overseas Missionary Fellowship in 1964 and 1966, and later put into book form. The book was originally published in 1967, and later had a major revision, including the increasing role of women in leadership. It has become a classic on Christian leadership.
The Apostle Paul wrote that to be a leader is an honorable ambition. The author writes that for the Christian it is sinful if your motivation for ambition is self. Instead, good ambition is motivated by godly goals. Our ambition should be focused on the glory of God and welfare of the church. The church needs more leaders, not less. The kind of leaders we need are authoritative, spiritual, and sacrificial.
Servant is a word that is often substituted for leadership in some versions of the Bible. Spiritual leadership emphasizes servanthood. This type of leadership yields to God’s sovereignty and must be willing to suffer. True leaders are in short supply. God seeks out leaders. Spiritual leadership is all about being last, rather than first. A spiritual leader is one that imitates Jesus, the greatest spiritual leader of all.
Traits for potential leaders include peace-making, trust, tactfulness, being able to respond effectively to criticism, relationship building, and discipline. The author writes that leaders are both born and made. He contrasts natural leaders with spiritual leaders.
The author discusses the heavy cost of leadership, such as fatigue. He addresses tests of leadership such as compromise, ambition, impossible situations and pride, ego and jealousy.
The author shares leadership insights from the Apostle Paul, including being of strong moral character, hospitable, leading your family well, and spiritual maturity. From the Apostle Peter, we learn to not be dictatorial in our leadership, to be a worthy example, humble, and not pursue leadership for financial gain. From Nehemiah, among other things we learn that he was a man of prayer.
The author discusses a number of essential qualities for spiritual leadership such as being Spirit-filled, which he writes is indispensable. Disciplines that will help make the leader effective include prayer, good time management and reading. Others are self-discipline, vision, courage, integrity, humor, anger, and patience. Leaders also need executive ability and good listening skills. A leader should be able to provide for successful succession of their leadership, leaving a healthy organization, and multiply themselves by developing future leaders.
Throughout the book, the author references many leaders that have influenced him, such as John Wesley, Martin Luther, Judson, and many that I was not familiar with. He uses a lot of Scripture and covers many aspects of leadership at a high level in this helpful book.

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

The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity, the new book by Tom Nelson, author of the excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work. Why not consider reading along with us? Download The Economics of Neighborly Love Study Guide from Made to Flourish.

This week we look at Chapter 9:  The Poor Among Us

  • Jesus reminded his disciples that the poor would always be among them, yet even as material impoverishment is a perennial consequence of a broken world, we are called to neighborly love that cares for the poor among us.
  • In an increasingly flattened, globalized world, what does it mean to love our materially impoverished neighbors—both global and local?
  • When we think of human impoverishment, we must first and foremost recognize that poverty is a relational deficit. Poverty is lacking relationships that bring flourishing.
  • We must not neglect or minimize human material impoverishment, but neighborly love compels us with the greatest sense of loving urgency to boldly share the good news. The power of the gospel is able to restore our neighbors’ greatest impoverishment, a broken relationship with God. At the heart of poverty alleviation is the great need for reconciliation both with God and others.
  • If we truly care about poverty alleviation, gospel proclamation is not optional; it is essential.
  • Following in Jesus’ footsteps, the New Testament writers continue to amplify God’s heart for the poor.
  • Paul does not advocate a coercive ecclesiastical or government redistribution of income or wealth, but rather seems to suggest that people who have been transformed by the gospel should embrace wise efforts to encourage less economic disparity and more economic equality.
  • When it comes to our understanding of and engagement with the materially poor, we may harbor wrongful attitudes, embrace misguided thinking, and live in cultural insularity.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 38 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm 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 2 Corinthians 5:21 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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