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

  • Is It OK to Stay in a Job Just for a Paycheck? In this roundtable discussion, Gospel Coalition Council members Ryan Kelly, Julius Kim, and Darryl Williamson discuss the relationship between work and material provision. They talk about ways that mundane work can become infused with purpose and about what sorts of truth we need to preach to ourselves when working in a job we don’t enjoy.
  • Paycheck or Purpose: Does Your Work Motivation Matter? Andrew Spencer writes “When we shift our focus from glorifying God to merely getting a paycheck, our work quickly begins to feel meaningless. The solution is, therefore, not to quit working for pay, but to refocus our vocational goal on the glory of God.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of ‘The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do’ by Jeff Goins
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’ by Tom Nelson

  • Job Shaming and the Vibrant Work Theology of Geoffrey Owens. Gage Arnold writes “May the story and words of Geoffrey Owens push us all to call out the beauty in our everyday work and bag groceries to the glory of God.”
  • Why Embracing a Woman’s Dual Vocations is About Loving Our Neighbors. Courtney Reisigg writes “I want to be a good writer because I want to serve the God who made me a writer. I want to be a good mom because I want to serve the God who made me a mom. These “dual vocations”, as Radford calls them, work together because God is a God of order and unity.”
  • 5 New Character Rules Every Leader Should Follow. Carey Nieuwhof writes “Character has always been important, but it seems like it’s never been as important as it is now. Especially if you’re a Christian leader, there should never be a gap between your private walk and public talk.”
  • God of the Second Shift. Jeff Haanen writes “In the past decade, the faith and work movement has exploded. Hundreds of new conferences, books, and organizations have sprung up from San Diego to Boston. But there’s a growing anxiety among Christian leaders that our national vocation conversation has a class problem.
  • Work is a Glorious Thing. John Piper writes “Work is a glorious thing. And if you stop and think about it, the most enjoyable kinds of leisure are a kind of work. Both these facts are true because the essence of work, as God designed it before the fall, was creativity — not aimless, random doing, but creative, productive doing.”
  • Work Smarter Not Harder. Check out this episode of the Getting Unstuck podcast with Matt Perman on which Matt discusses the foundational principle for productivity to work smarter not harder by having right priorities and learning to work with excellence.
  • God’s Will and Your Vocation. Our vocation is not merely a means to fulfill our own desires and interests. From his series Knowing God’s Will, R.C. Sproul explains how finding your calling serves the people around you.
  • Your Work Matters, But Don’t Deify It. Daniel Darling writes “If we aren’t careful, we’ll load our vocations with the weight of a significance they weren’t meant to bear. We often don’t even realize we’ve worshiped this faceless god until we’ve looked up and seen all of the unnecessary sacrifices we’ve made to it.”
  • Study: American Christians Are Erasing the Divide Between ‘Sacred’ and ‘Secular’ Jobs. Joe Carter writes “A new study finds that most Christian workers in America know how their work serves God or a higher purpose. But too many still don’t have a fully biblical view of vocation.”
  • How to Glorify God at Work. John Piper writes “Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink or work, do all to make God look as great as he really is.”
  • Cheese Sandwiches, Picture Framing and Work. Stephen McAlpine writes “Much has been written about work and vocation from a theological perspective the past few decades, and there have been plenty of conferences about work, but as this article in Christianity Today points out,it’s not janitors and fast food workers – or even machinists –  who frequent Christian conferences about work.  And they’re not reading books on vocation either.”
  • Creating High Performance Teams. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, check out their most downloaded episode in ten years.
  • Hard Work. In this “Minute with Maxwell” John Maxwell states that inspiration does a lot better when it’s coupled with perspiration.
  • 6 Reasons Work Is Hard—and Why It Helps to Know Them. Steve Lindsey writes “And remember that thougxh our work will always bear the marks of a fallen world, it is also a call for us to enter into God’s renewing work.”
  • Four Dangers of Success. And the Antidote. Steven Graves writes “I’ve become convinced that most people handle failure much better than they handle success. Failure can make a man, and success can ruin a man.”
  • Faith and Work 101. In this initial episode of the podcast, the staff of Denver Institute talks through a broad overview of faith and work, and a few of the spiritual issues around the topic: What does it mean to have a “broadened view” of the gospel? What does it mean that God loves the world, as well as the individuals in it?

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • The biblical worldview has the highest opinion of the most menial of work. Tim Keller
  • What we do with our lives every day, whether at school, a desk job, or keeping the home in order, is our most basic opportunity to glorify God. That’s what your role in His story looks like day in and day out. Instead of waiting to be offered a new role, play the current one well. Trip Lee
  • Nothing in life can take the place of knowing your purpose. John Maxwell
  • The Sabbath is a declaration of freedom from the tyranny of workplace identity placed on us in culture. Tim Keller
  • A person’s career or vocation can become an idol. The person becomes so obsessed with getting ahead or making it to the top that both God and family take second place. Jerry Bridges
  • Everywhere you look, people are giving excuses for not pursuing what they were born to do. Jeff Goins
  • Sin has caused our affections to stray, propelling us to worship relationships, achievement, and work – everything but God. Tim Keller
  • If God is satisfied with the work, the work may be satisfied with itself. C.S. Lewis
  • The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship. Martin Luther

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins. Thomas Nelson. 199 pages. 2015
****

This was the second time I’ve read this excellent book on calling by Jeff Goins.  It’s a book that I’ve recommended to many. It’s a helpful easy read, sprinkled with a number of stories about people and their calling stories. Each chapter tells a different person’s story, illustrating a major concept—one of seven stages of a calling.
The author tells us that this is a book about finding your calling, about how you discover what you were born to do. A calling is that thing that you can’t not do, an answer to the age-old question, “What should I do with my life?” He tells us that the journey described in this book is an ancient path. It’s the way of master craftsmen and artisans, a centuries-old road that requires both perseverance and dedication—the narrow path that few find.
The author tells us that after encountering hundreds of stories from people who found their calling, he identified seven common characteristics, each illustrated in one of the chapters. Each chapter, which tells at least one person’s story, is based on the following themes or stages:

  • Awareness
  • Apprenticeship
  • Practice
  • Discovery
  • Profession
  • Mastery
  • Legacy

Rather than steps, the author states that these are more like overlapping stages that, once begun, continue for the rest of your life.
This is a very helpful book in helping you to find your life’s calling. As I read it, I highlighted a number of passages. Below are 15 great quotes from the book:

  1. You don’t “just know” what your calling is. You must listen for clues along the way, discovering what your life can tell you. Awareness comes with practice.
  2. Before you know what your calling is, you must believe you are called to something.
  3. A calling goes beyond your abilities and calls into question your potential.
  4. You cannot find your calling on your own. It’s a process that involves a team of mentors. And everywhere you look, help is available.
  5. Practice is essential not only to achieve excellence but to clarify the call itself.
  6. Finding your calling will not happen without the aid and assistance of others.
  7. Throughout this process of finding your life’s work, you must be willing to look for mentors in unexpected places.
  8. We don’t need more jobs. We need a better way to equip people for what they’re meant to do.
  9. An accidental apprenticeship begins with listening to your life and paying attention to the ways in which you’re already being prepared for your life’s work.
  10. Sometimes the people who help us find our calling come from the least likely of places. It’s our job to notice them.
  11. Your calling is not always easy. It will take work. Practice can teach you what you are and are not meant to do.
  12. Putting an activity through painful practice is a great way to determine your direction in life. If you can do something when it’s not fun, even when you’re exhausted and bored and want to give up, then it just might be your calling.
  13. I don’t know where this idea that your calling is supposed to be easy comes from. Rarely do easy and greatness go together.
  14. Discovering your calling is not an epiphany but a series of intentional decisions. It looks less like a giant leap and more like building a bridge.
  15. Find what you love and what the world needs, then combine them. As Frederick Buechner wrote, “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

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

The Economics of Neighborly Love by Tom Nelson

You can read along with us and download the study guide.  This week we look at Chapter 12: Getting to Work

  • If we are going to help rebuild the ruins of our communities and cities, an essential requirement will be for pastors and Christian leaders to cultivate a mindset to work within their congregations and the broader community.
  • A local church that desires to embrace a neighborly love of compassion and capacity will seek to be an encouraging incubator for entrepreneurial thinking and entrepreneurs in both the profit and nonprofit sectors.
  • While an increasing number of pastors are teaching members of congregations that their work matters, all too few share the same commitment to highlighting the importance of job creation in their communities and cities.
  • It is not just that work matters, having a job also matters.
  • Not only is getting a job important, so too is growing in job skill and personal productivity. Increasing personal productivity enables us to find greater job satisfaction as well as add greater value to the economy, enhancing the common good.
  • It is encouraging that many local churches have promoted programs advocating wiser money management and better financial fitness for their congregants.
  • Productivity is not merely doing things right, but first and foremost doing the right things for the right reasons.
  • Encouraging not only a strong work ethic but also personal work productivity is an important component of discipleship into greater Christlikeness.
  • A practical step forward for a local church is to provide seminars and classes that equip congregants in personal and productivity management skills.
  • It is not just that work matters, how we do our work matters too.
  • When we pursue the common good, a top priority must be the planting and renewal of local churches that proclaim the gospel and are committed to the spiritual formation of individuals and families.
  • If we are serious about pursuing the common good, we will see that a primary work of the church is the church at work.
  • Every local church has a vast potential for promoting the common good in and through each congregant’s vocational calling.
  • One telling sign of resurrection power in any local congregation is that Sunday worship is understood as being closely connected to Monday work and the economy.
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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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