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

  • Faith-Work Integration: Trendy or Essential? Mark Roberts writes “Doing our ordinary work in the Lord’s name is an essential, though often overlooked, element of our calling. So, whatever you do—whether managing staff, selling products, leading organizations, changing diapers, teaching children, building start-ups, preaching sermons, making films, writing books, molding clay, or cleaning houses—do everything, yes, everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
  • Work: Curse, Blessing, or…? Ross West writes “Work, then, is our divine assignment to develop our world on God’s behalf. Furthermore, work is the means by which we carry out that assignment.”
  • When Work Stinks. Greg Forster writes “We walk — we work — by faith, not by sight. We trust that God is at work in our work, even if we don’t necessarily see or understand what he’s doing. We trust that God is at work in the world around us, even in the midst of darkness and evil. The triumph of God’s holy love is our hope; it is our hope for eternity, and our hope for today.”
  • The Dignity of Every Kind of Work. Scott Sauls writes “Every kind of work that creates something new or enhances something broken or lacking is glorious because of how it intersects with God’s ongoing, creative mission in the world.”
  • In All things: 6 principles to Help Guide Your Work. Bill Wells writes “Whether paid or unpaid, for profit, or nonprofit, God doesn’t care as much about what we do as he does about how we do it.”
  • Eight Leaders Talk about Faith and Work. Bill Peel writes “The Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University and Jim and Martha Brangenburg of iWork4Him joined up to record eight interviews with some friends who are serious about following Christ in their work and all of life.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of The Gospel at Work: How the Gospel Gives New Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs (Updated and Expanded Edition) by Sebastian Traeger and Greg D. Gilbert
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’

  • 2018 Faith at Work Summit in Chicago. The 2018 Faith at Work Summit is a two-day gathering of 500 church and marketplace leaders—the premier event of the faith and work movement in the United States.
  • What Makes Work Redemptive? Steve Graves writes “How can the gospel bring a redemptive edge to your business is a great question to ask.”
  • How to Avoid Accumulated Fatigue. Zack Eswine writes “Accumulated fatigue signals the gradual build-up of circumstantial stresses, mental challenges, and relational sorrows. It doesn’t ride right up to you and bandit you. It embezzles you instead. Like a slow-leaking tire, you don’t notice the gradual siphoning of air, the subtle lean of the car from its depleted strength.”
  • When Choosing a Career, Don’t Just Follow Your Passion. Listen to this message from Bethany Jenkins from the 2018 Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. She states “The question itself is pretty self-centered. It’s all about you: ‘Will my work bring me passion?’ A better question is ‘What can I do to serve my neighbor in the work I’m called to do and fulfill the second commandment?’”
  • Love Your Competitor as Yourself. Greg Forster writes “In the long run, living a God-honoring life requires us to see the marketplace as an opportunity to compete in a godly way. Our cooperation as we serve one another reflects the image of God that Christ is restoring us to.”
  • Accelerating Culture, Part 1. In this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, Stanley talks with Dave Katz, CFO of Coca-Cola Consolidated about what it means to accelerate culture within your organization.
  • Living for Christ by Thinking Economically About Our Work. Dr. Anne Bradley writes “As Christians, we must take our calling seriously, using our work to live out our calling for Christ to impact the world. We must not look first to the church to do this, but to ourselves. God has given us great power in the work of our hands to change the world. We just have to do it.”
  • Do Churches Today Understand Faith and Work? Hugh Whelchel writes “In the church today, we still believe some jobs are more spiritual that others. And when it comes to understanding the integration of faith and work, in many ways, the church is still in the Dark Ages.”
  • God’s All-Inclusive Call. Listen to this podcast from Nine to Five. It is part one of a two-part conversation between Hugh Whelchel, Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics and Steve Becker, Christians in Commerce. They discuss the value and importance of work, integrating faith and work and the role God’s peace plays in life.
  • A New Testament Professor’s Rediscovery of the Doctrine of Vocation. Robert Plummer writes “Imagine the average layperson in your church—the owner of a bike shop, a truck driver, a doctor, a secretary, a lawyer, a school teacher.If you were to ask him or her, “How does your pastor expect you to apply your Christian faith to your work,” What would they say?
  • Essential Latin for Reformed Christians: “Coram Deo”. Wes Bredenhof writes “There is a constant temptation for us to compartmentalize our lives.  We have what we do on Sundays — that’s the religious part of our lives.  But that has nothing to do with what we do on Friday nights.  It has nothing to do with what we watch on Netflix on Tuesday.  In this way of thinking, our work, too, is a separate compartment.  In the workplace, there’s nothing that distinguishes us.”

  • John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast launched August 1. This podcast is for transformational leaders––leaders who daily influence people to think, speak, and act to make a positive difference.
  • The Five Levels of Leadership. At its core, leadership is influence. It is not simply possessing a position or title. John C. Maxwell developed The Five Levels of Leadershipto help people understand the journey a leader takes over time. As leaders progress through the levels, they grow their leadership capabilities. In this episode of the Global Leadership Summit podcast, Jeff Lockyer and John dig into each of the five levels, helping listeners understand the progression of leadership growth and the practical steps necessary to increase their leadership impact.
  • 8 Contrasting Signs of an Insecure Leader. Jared C. Wilson writes “The cure for insecure leadership is the leadership of Jesus.”
  • Resisting the Temptation of Pride in Leadership. W. Scott Brown writes “Character ultimately tells out. Pride in leadership may secure short-term “success,” but it always guarantees long-term failure.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Any work that is useful to others and done with excellence is deserving of honor. Tim Keller
  • All work done well has a dignity in the eyes of God. Tim Keller
  • God has not called you to be awesome. He has called you to be humble, faithful, and free. Leave the awesome to him. Scott Sauls
  • The Fall means, we should expect to be regularly frustrated in our work even though we may be in exactly the right vocation. Tim Keller
  • Success, we come to think, will keep us safe when trouble comes. Success merely gives us hope for this world, but none for the world to come. Death is the great leveler, and as the raided tombs of the pharaohs tell us, we cannot take our earthly success into the world to come. Derek Thomas
  • True greatness is achieved not by reducing men to one’s service but in giving oneself in selfless service to them. Oswald Sanders
  • Work is as much a basic human need as food, beauty, rest, friendship, and prayer; it is not simply medicine but food for our soul. Tim Keller
  • The sabbath is about restoring diminished. It’s about replenishing the drained. It’s about repairing the broken. It’s NOT just an off day. Tim Keller
  • Even in our successes, we can, and should, praise God for giving us both the means and opportunity to be successful. Tim Keller

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

The Gospel at Work: How the Gospel Gives New Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs (Updated and Expanded Edition) by Sebastian Traeger and Greg D. Gilbert. Zondervan. 192 pages. 2018
****

I read the original 2014 edition of this book twice, including once with colleagues at work in a Faith and Work Book Club, and was excited to see this new updated and expanded edition. The book is written by a marketplace leader (Sebastian) and a ministry leader (Greg).  In this book they help us to better understand what it means for Christians to be faithful workers, serving King Jesus in a secular world.  Their hope is that the book will help some Christians to see more clearly why God has given them work to do and how they might be thinking about work in sinful ways. They hope that the book will help some Christians forsake both idolatry and idleness in favor of a more biblical way of thinking about work as service to King Jesus. At the end of each chapter, they provide several questions and Scripture passages for the reader to study that will help you to further reflect on and think about the ideas in that chapter. From experience, I know that this is an excellent book to read and discuss in a group.
The authors write that one of our greatest needs in the church is an understanding of how daily work according to God’s Word ties in with God’s ultimate purpose in the world. God’s intention from the beginning was for human beings to work. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command and rebelled against him, work stopped being purely a reaping of God’s abundance. Work is necessary, work is hard, and work is even dangerous. For all that, however, it’s still clear that God cares deeply about how we think about and relate to our jobs. The authors tell us that our jobs are one of the primary ways God intends to make us more like Jesus.
The big idea in the book is:
“No matter what you do, your job has inherent purpose and meaning because you are doing it ultimately for the King. Who you work for is more important than what you do. No matter what you are doing, you are doing it to glorify Jesus.”
The authors tell us that if we keep that one big idea in mind, it will change the way we think about our work and engage in our work.
The book addresses two errors we can fall into in our work: making our work an idol or being idle in our work. Some people worship their jobs, making them an idol. An idol is something that you desire more than you desire Jesus. The authors tell us that if our pursuit of joy, satisfaction, and meaning centers on “what you do” and “what you are accomplishing,” you’ll find nothing but emptiness at the end of that road.
On the other hand, some of us under-identify with our work. We care too little about it and find ourselves being idle in our work. Knowing that you work for King Jesus and not for other people changes the way you approach your job.

The authors helpfully cover a few specific applications:

  • How to choose a job. The authors tell us that if God doesn’t give you an opportunity to do a certain thing, then he’s not calling you to do that thing, at least not now.
  • How to balance work, church and family. The authors tell us that God has given us a number of assignments in our lives. We are not to be idle or idolatrous in them, but to pursue faithfulness and fruitfulness in each.
  • How to handle difficult bosses and coworkers. They tell us that the hardest thing about our jobs can be the people with whom we’re expected to work. A gospel-centered perspective on our work changes the way we think about our boss, as well as the way we think of our coworkers.
  • What it means to be a Christian boss. The authors tell us that Godly leaders serve others, looking out for them and working for their good.
  • How to share the Gospel at work. Some of the suggestions offered in this section may not work in your particular context, especially if you are the leader of the team.
  • The value of full-time ministry vs. a job in the marketplace. The authors helpfully tell us that the value of our work isn’t finally found at all in the particular thing we do; it’s found in the fact that whatever we do, we do it for our King. Doing the work your King has given you to do—and doing it well.
  • Calling to a particular job. Most of us want to know what God has called us to do vocationally. The authors tell us however that if we are looking for that one big thing to name as your calling or if you think you’ve already found it, you’re adopting an idea that the Bible never uses. They go on to state that calling is not one thing in your life; it’s everything in your life, at any given moment. You are, right now, where He has called you to be. That calling may change, but for now, this is where the King has placed you.

The authors tell us that God uses ordinary people in ordinary circumstances to do his extraordinary kingdom work. We should have no idolatry nor idleness in our work. Instead, we aim to be faithful to the King, who put us where we are. Our success is defined simply by giving our all for King Jesus.

The book concludes with three helpful appendices:
Appendix 1: Five Practices to Help You Live Out the Gospel at Work
Appendix 2: A Biblical Theology of Work
Appendix 3: How to Leverage Your Job for the Nations

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 10:  Economic Injustice

  • Throughout Holy Scripture, we not only hear God’s compassionate heartbeat for the poor and exploited, we also hear his righteous anger toward those who malign and take advantage of others.
  • The Old Testament prophets speak out against all manner of injustice, yet they specifically decry exploitative economic behavior.
  • The gates of our modern economy can promote human flourishing, or they can perpetuate economic injustice and hinder human flourishing.
  • Amos goes so far as to say that when God’s people ignore injustice and fail to do justice, God despises their worship and refuses to listen to them (Amos 5:21-24).
  • I am compelled by the very nature of my vocational calling not only to offer pastoral care to the hurting but also to provide a prophetic voice for the many who face injustice—the vulnerable and voiceless. Yet as a spokesperson for God, a prophetic voice must not only point out the errors of injustice but also offer better ways forward for the flourishing of all.
  • It is to warn that economic profits can come to matter too much and can blind us to our stewardship of the common good.
  • Not only do unjust economic systems that hinder opportunity and access to economic flourishing need changing, human hearts need changing.
  • One of the most challenging and complex economic realities faced by many of our neighbors who live paycheck to paycheck is finding financial resources to cover immediate and unexpected expenses.
  • While the payday loan system is viable from an economic point of view, from a moral perspective I do not believe it is an acceptable answer to meet the liquidity needs of the working poor.
  • While gambling and lotteries offer the hope of instantly moving from rags to riches, the odds of winning are gargantuan. Yet many economically underresourced individuals feel they have little to lose and much to gain by a potential win, so they spend their limited resources on the slim hope of economic salvation through a jackpot drawing.
  • Gender discrimination in the form of lower pay for women who perform the same work as men also hurts the poor.
  • While racism lurks in the broken depths of every human heart, not all racism has had and continues to have such a negative impact as the individual and institutional racism perpetrated against African Americans in the United States.
  • Because of the courage of leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, significant progress has been made in providing African Americans access to educational and economic opportunities. Still, the enduring effect of decades of economic disenfranchisement in African American communities is compelling. The long-lasting consequences of systemic racism linger, and formidable obstacles of discrimination remain.
  • Americans is not optional for those who embrace the gospel and seek to live out the restorative justice it calls us to pursue.
  • One of the most heart-arresting injustices of our time is human trafficking and slavery. The scope of this moral and economic injustice must awaken our consciences and call us to wise action.
  • Whether they live next to us, in another part of our city, or in another part of the globe, we must share God’s heart and be God’s hands for our economically vulnerable neighbors.
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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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