Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- I Feel Trapped in My Job – What Should I Do? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, Tim Keller addresses the question “How do I as a dad teach and train my young kids about the divine value of work?”
- Restlessness at Work: Is It a Good Thing? Michelle Van Loon writes “Healthy restlessness in our work sparks in us an ongoing, holy curiosity about our lives and service to God.”
- In This Day When the Gospel Is Considered Offensive, How Can I Work without Losing My Job? What should you do if your employer asks you to do something that’s unbiblical? From an Ask Ligonier event, Sinclair Ferguson considers how to serve the Lord when your workplace is antagonistic to the gospel.
- Should I Stay at a Christian Organization That Doesn’t Seem Christian? Joshua Chatraw writes “If God is not providing another option, most of the time the prudent decision is to stay, at least for the time being, and seek to be faithful, serving your colleagues, clients, and company the best you can.”
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
- More links to interesting articles
- The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- My Review of Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith by David Goetsch
- Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life.
- Make the Best of Who You Are the Most of What You Do. Dave Kraft writes “Making the best of who you are the most of what you do is absolutely essential for Christians in general and leaders in particular.”
- Five Ways to Be A More Effective Leader in 2019. Ed Stetzer writes “I want to share with you five ways I think all of us can be more effective and Christ-honoring as we begin our leadership service this year. I hope these will provide you some food for thought as you reflect on where God has you and who he has under your care.”
- Real Productivity: Getting the Right Things Done. Hugh Whelchel, in writing about Matt Perman’s excellent book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done, states “Perman explains that from a biblical perspective productivity isn’t just about getting more things done; it’s about getting the right things done. This book shows us how to effectively do the work that matters in order to bring glory to God, serve the common good, and further his kingdom in the here and now.”
- Five Christian Views on Goal Setting and Resolutions. Kristin Brown shares five articles from IFWE that provide some helpful perspectives as you reflect, pray, and plan ahead.
- It’s Time to End the Sacred-Secular Divide. Greg Ayers writes “The deeming of sacred work (evangelizing, pastoral and ministry-focused activities) over and above those everyday activities considered to be “secular” has resulted in the failure to apply the gospel to every part of life.” He shares what others have written about the sacred/secular distinction and its effects on how Christians integrate faith and work.
- Seeking Truth in Business. Bill Pollard writes “For me, the world of business was a channel for fulfilling and living my Christian faith – a channel that reached from a janitor’s closet in Saudi Arabia to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and encompassed sweeping streets in Japan to ringing the bell of the New York Stock Exchange.”
- Appreciating Your Staff Makes Business Sense. Dr. Paul White writes “Authentic appreciation communicates value about the person, not simply focusing on performance and what is good for the company. Appreciation for workers and colleagues involves a genuine heart attitude and cannot be faked.”
- How to Discern God’s Will in Your Workplace. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “Christians in business—especially those whose choices affect employees and company direction—often wrestle with how to follow God in their decisions. The Gospel Coalition talked to five of them about the best practices they’ve developed to discern God’s will in situations that aren’t explicitly addressed by Scripture.”
- How Your Career Could Crush You. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, Tim Keller addresses the question “Why does a biblical view of vocation seem so undeveloped in the lives of so many Christian workers today?”
- Trusting God in New Job Assignments. My friend Russell Gehrlein writes “One of the most relevant aspects of God’s presence in our work is that of trusting him during the job assignment process. Whether you are in the military or not, you can probably relate to what it feels like when your career feels out of your control.”
- 7 Ways to Stay Active in Ministry After Retirement. Michael Rowe offers these helpful suggestions that just about all retirees can apply.
- Work That Makes a Difference. Tim Challies writes “Work has intrinsic significance because it gives me the opportunity to do something with joy—with joy in the Lord. I can do my work in such a way that it glorifies God, or I can do it in such a way that it dishonors him. Anything I can do to God’s glory has significance. It has great significance!”
- From Seminary President to NFL Head Coach. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “This fall, former Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) Charlotte campus president Frank Reich began his first season as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.”
- The pressure is off for all of us to make a name for ourselves. Jesus has made a name for us already. Tim Keller
- It is important for Christians especially, to view work as central and not peripheral to our humanity, and especially to our life in Christ. Scott Sauls
- We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, and as workers together with Him. Let us see that our life fulfills this purpose. Charles Spurgeon
- God is happy in his work, and we are made in his image. No wonder there is nothing more humanizing than good work, and no wonder God rewards it. Tim Keller
- No matter where you work or what kind of job you have, as a Christian you work first for the Lord and second for your employer. David Goetsch
- Thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person. Tim Keller
- Work has intrinsic significance because it gives me the opportunity to do something with joy—with joy in the Lord. Tim Challies
- It doesn’t matter whether a person is a CEO with her corner office or a server with his name embroidered on the restaurant-issued apron, a job gives us a place in the world. Ben Sasse
- There is no ideal place to serve God except the place in which He has set you down. Alistair Begg
FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:
Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith by David Goetsch. Salem Books. 282 pages. 2019.
This is a thorough, and very practical book that Christians in the workplace will find of much value. The author writes that the workplace is not always the friendliest environment for Christians. As a Christian in the workplace, your faith is going to be challenged. Count on it and do not be surprised or shocked when it happens. Consistently living your faith in the workplace is almost guaranteed to cause you problems from time to time. I know I ran into challenges to my faith in the workplace, and I would guess that you have as well. This is a book that I would recommend reading and discussing with co-workers in a book club setting. To facilitate that, the book includes helpful case studies about people the author has counseled over the years, discussion and review questions for groups and individuals.
The author writes that secular humanism and misguided political correctness are the new normal in the workplace. Instances of hostility toward Christianity are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. This hostility can and does sometimes cross a line and become persecution. Christians face the daily challenge of trying to do their jobs in ways that reflect the image of Christ while working with people who reject Christ. He wrote the book to help Christians in the workplace excel without compromising their faith.
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”, is the theme of this book. Helping Christians accomplish this difficult but critical challenge is the author’s purpose. The strategies provided in the book are based on the teachings of Scripture. They have been put to the test in the workplace and proven to be effective for use by Christians facing the kinds of trials, tribulations, and dilemmas you may be facing in your job.
The author tells us that as Christians, we cannot separate our beliefs from our work, nor can we leave our beliefs on the doorstep of the office. Each day, working Christians must fight a two-pronged battle. On one hand, there is the personal battle to avoid succumbing to the temptations so prevalent in the workplace. On the other hand, we must also battle against the pressures of the workplace to engage in sinful behavior in the name of competitiveness, the bottom line, success, career advancement, job security, etc. As Christians, we can and should set examples of working in ways consistent with the teachings of Scripture and that reflect the image of Christ. As Christians in the workplace, a dilemma we often face is how to be faithful to our beliefs when working with people who don’t share those beliefs and when confronted with situations that challenge those beliefs. He tells us that no matter how successful you may be in your job, you have failed if your success comes by compromising your faith.
The author writes that the key to responding to pressure, rejection, and temptation in a biblical manner is to use an approach he calls the First-Response Model. The model summarizes the first steps Christians, should take when facing faith-related dilemmas in the workplace.
- Avoid responding out of anger, fear, or frustration.
- Pray for guidance.
- Seek guidance in Scripture.
- Seek the counsel of Godly men and women.
- Translate Scriptural guidance and wise counsel into workplace-appropriate practical action.
He states that we should go through each step in the model in the order recommended.
He writes about covert and overt Christians in the workplace. Covert Christians are believers who hide their faith when working among unbelievers. Another goal of this book is to demonstrate you don’t have to adopt the covert approach to keep your job or to build a successful career. Those Christians who consistently live their faith in all situations are referred to as overt Christians.
The author covers a number of helpful topics in this book, including servant leadership, how to be both wise and innocent when responding to faith-related challenges in the workplace, how to establish and maintain relationships with our unbelieving co-workers, how your Christ-like example can be a daily sermon for coworkers, and dealing with diversity in the workplace.
I highlighted a number of passages as I read the book. Below are 10 of my favorite quotes:
- No matter where you work or what kind of job you have, as a Christian you work first for the Lord and second for your employer.
- Quitting your job when the faith-related trials you are experiencing seem overwhelming should be viewed as an option of last resort, at least in most cases.
- There may be times when remaining faithful to your beliefs will jeopardize your job security or, at the very least, cause you emotional distress, a hard fact Christians must understand.
- When responding to faith-related challenges, the key is to make your point without making an enemy.
- There may be organizational policies against openly evangelizing on the job, but there can be no policies against setting a good Christian example.
- There may even be times when Christians will have to endure persecution for refusing to compromise.
- Setting a Christ-like example for coworkers depends on your ability to effectively translate Scripture into workplace-appropriate action. When translating Scripture into action, you must be both wise and innocent.
- Working with someone who holds a different worldview and validating that individual’s worldview are two different things.
- Christ expects us to not just tolerate our neighbors but to love them as He loves us.
- Expect adversity to be part of what you will deal with in the workplace.
Faith and Work Book Club – Won’t you read along with us?
The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life by Os Guinness is the best book on calling for the Christian that I have read. The first time I read it was in Dr. Douglass’s wonderful “Spiritual and Ministry Formation” class at Covenant Seminary in 2013. In 2018, on the 20th anniversary of the book, Guinness published a revised and updated edition.
We’ll start by looking at a few quotes from the “Introduction” of the book:
- We’ll address two broad and crippling distortions from the start—the shrinking and the hollowing out of calling.
- To explore the truth of God’s call is to appreciate what is nothing less than God’s grand global project for the restoration and renewal of humanity and the earth—and our part in it.
- What follows in this book is a series of short reflections on the many-sided wonder of God’s call.
- I hope that what is here you will read slowly, always aware that you are in the presence of the One who calls us all, and always thinking things through in terms of your own life and your own calling in the world.
- Two words that have changed the world, the two words that are changing the world today, and the two words that can change each of us and our lives beyond our wildest dreams. Listen to the commanding invitation of Jesus that is both a call and a charge: “Follow me.”
Next time we’ll look at Chapter 1.