Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Leave a comment

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • When to be Silent – and when the Speak Up – in the Workplace. Charlie Self writes “Challenges arise when we’re faced with ethical dilemmas concerning our speech, particularly when it concerns our bosses and fellow employees. Leaving aside obvious insults and overt rebellion, and friendly joking and celebrations, how do we discern when to be silent and when to speak?”
  • Facing Unpleasant Tasks. Russell Gehrlein writes “Life is filled with unpleasant tasks for all of us; so, how do we think biblically about them?”
  • Help! I Resent My Husband’s Long Work Hours. Megan Fowler writes “Your desire to cheerfully support your husband is good and can be a blessing to him and your family. The strain of an oft-absent husband can be used by the Lord to refine your character, show you your sin, and bring you into deeper dependence on God and his people.”
  • Watch Your Conscience in the Workplace. Matt Rusten writes “What recent situation has rung the alarm of your conscience? What might happen in our places of work if we sought, with God’s help, to keep a clear and healthy conscience?”
  • How to Think Biblically About Obedience at Work. Hugh Whelchel writes “Our obedience in the long haul, even in the most mundane area of our work, not only provides a sense of joy, but is also what God uses to give our work great satisfaction and significance.”
  • Laziness is Profoundly Unchristian. David Mathis writes “Developing and strengthening a Christian work ethic, like Paul’s, is a lifelong process. We fight the battles over and over again, day after day, week after week. Every moment of emotional resistance, standing face to face with the friction and discomfort that tempts us to grow weary and cease, is an opportunity: to move forward in the strength God supplies, rather than backwards into lethargy.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences by Carey Nieuwhof
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • Mission at Work. In Bryan Chapell’s sermon series on work, he deals with many workplace realities and challenges, and examines how the Bible applies to each, showing that it is not only possible to live for Christ at work, but it is also every Christian’s mission to do so.
  • 10 Traits of a Humble Leader. Moses Y. Lee writes “The need for humble leadership—Christians who actually look like Christ in how they live and lead—is urgent.”
  • God’s Sovereign Plans Behind Your Most Unproductive Days. In this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question What should efficiency look like in the busy Christian life?”
  • Three Tips for Building Trust-Based Work Relationships. Dr. Art Lindsley shares three guidelines that can help us to set reliable expectations about relationships at work (and in life).
  • The Universal Basic Income and the Theology of Work. Andrew Spencer writes “The conversation about U.B.I. will certainly continue in the future, but it must be broadened to consider the nature of humans and the value of work. There are needs for community and contribution that a check from the government cannot fill.”
  • Three Tools for Sharing the Faith, Work, and Economics Message. Kristin Brown writes “We’ve boiled the vision of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics down to three basic ideas— freedomfulfillment, and flourishing. Behind each idea, we’ve provided a short article and a two-minute video.” These are excellent tools to share with those around you who need to know that their work matters to God.
  • Is There Any Heavenly Good in Our Earthly Labor? John Pletcher writes “Because of God’s gracious, grand story, there truly is heavenly good in our earthly labor.”
  • Taking the Romans Road of the Workplace: The Gospel Attitude. Dr. Timothy Ewest writes about one of six themes (The Gospel Attitude) from Paul’s letter to the Romans, which he believes can act as a guide or a road to follow on how the Christian faith can be lived in the workplace.
  • 4 Practical Tips for Faithful Workplace Witness. Dominique McKay writes “How exactly do we embody a Christian life in the workplace, demonstrating God’s love for our neighbors—or, in this case, our coworkers—and at the same time respecting the work he’s called us to do?”

Quotes about Faith and Work 

  • Doing our work well matters to God and to our neighbor. The best workers make for the best neighbors. Tom Nelson
  • Work was created to be an expression of our identity, not the source of our identity. Jeff Haanen
  • Work is the chief place where we love our neighbors as ourselves. Dan Doriani
  • The burning question for most Christians should be: How can my life count for the glory of God in my secular vocation? John Piper
  • Unlike a job, which is for a season, a calling will beckon us for a lifetime. Dee Ann Turner
  • A sense of calling should precede a choice of job and career, and the main way to discover calling is along the line of what we are each created and gifted to be. Instead of, “You are what you do,” calling says: “Do what you are.” Os Guinness
  • The leader who practices shepherd-leadership knows his sheep personally and cares about them individually. Michael Youssef
  • Your daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped you to do it—no matter what kind of work it is. Tim Keller
  • Dare-to-Serve leaders see each individual as a unique and valuable human being, worthy of dignity. And they treat them accordingly. Cheryl Bachelder

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences by Carey Nieuwhof. WaterBrook. 203 pages. 2018
****

Pastor and author Carey Nieuwhof writes that this book is for people who want to see the signs that there’s a major life challenge ahead before it’s too late. The signs he looks at exist for all of us, no matter what stage of the journey we might be on. He tells us that none of these – cynicism, compromise, disconnection, irrelevance, pride, burnout, emptiness— need to be our final story, but we can see them coming. He tells us that if we regularly do what we were created to do, the likelihood of growing cynical, disconnected, proud, or irrelevant diminishes.
I enjoyed this book and highlighted a number of passages. Below are a few from each sign that I found particularly helpful.

Cynicism

  • Cynicism begins not because you don’t care but because you do care. It starts because you poured your heart into something and got little in return. Or maybe you got something in return, but it was the opposite of what you desired.
  • With age and experience, you become skilled at seeing patterns. You start to do what cynics do by instinct: you project past failures onto new situations.
  • Perhaps most disturbingly, cynicism begins to infect your relationship with God. When you close your heart to people, you close your heart to God.
  • Cynicism is actually a choice. Cynics aren’t born; they’re made. Life doesn’t make you a cynic; you make you a cynic.
  • Of all people on earth, Christians should be the least cynical. After all, the gospel gives us the greatest reasons to hope.
  • Curious people are never cynical, and cynical people are never curious.
  • Cultivate curiosity long enough, and hope will flourish. And when hope flourishes, cynicism doesn’t stand a chance.

Compromise

  • The subtle compromises we make day after day—the half-truths, the rationalizations, the excuses—create a gap between who we are and who we want to be.
  • All the competency in the world can’t compensate for a lack of character. Ultimately, your character is your lid.
  • Lack of character kills careers, shatters families, ruins friendships, and destroys influence.
  • Your competency leaves the first impression, but your character leaves the lasting one.
  • If you don’t nurture your character daily, you can be most admired by the people who know you least, while the people who know you best struggle with you the most.
  • We judge ourselves by our intentions and other people by their actions.
  • Character development is far more painful than skill development.
  • The antidote to compromise is simply this: work twice as hard on your character as you do on your competency.
  • If you change everything in your life except your character, you still won’t be the kind of person you want to be.
  • If you simply make your talk match your walk, the gap between who you are and who you want to be becomes smaller almost instantly.
  • It’s our character that determines how we’ll be remembered. More important, it’s our character that God is most interested in.

Disconnection

  • As a culture, the more connected we’ve become, the more isolated we’ve grown.
  • Technology does a good job of revealing what’s already inside you.
  • Beyond the death of genuine conversation, there’s an even deeper loss happening: confession seems to be disappearing.
  • Confession and progress are inexorably linked. You won’t address what you don’t confess.
  • The challenge is not to resist change but to learn how to thrive in the midst of it.
  • When are you going to stop focusing on what you can’t control and instead start focusing on what you can control?
  • You can make excuses or you can make progress, but you can’t make both.
  • I have discovered that a hurried life leads to an unexamined and disconnected life.

Irrelevance

  • The gap between how quickly you change and how quickly things change is called irrelevance. The bigger the gap, the more irrelevant you become.
  • The fastest path to irrelevance is this: stop changing.
  • Change is the only thing that bridges the gap between who you are and who you need to be.
  • Change is painful. And that’s why the vast majority of us resist it.
  • Irrelevance causes us to lose the ability to speak into a culture.
  • The greatest enemy of your future success is always your current success.
  • When true transformation occurs, the person embraces the future more than the past.
  • The change you don’t implement often becomes something none of us wants—regret.

Pride

  • Unaddressed, pride will destroy many of the things you care about or know you should care about.
  • Pride sneaks in even among the insecure and drives a wedge between who we think we are and who God thinks we are.
  • One sure sign of insecurity is that your opinion of yourself rises and falls with how you perform or what others say about you. Your identity should be more secure than your latest results, but for many of us, it’s not.
  • Proud people always feel a need to be the most talented or skilled. As a result, the number of gifted people around them is much lower than it is around people who are secure and less obsessed with themselves.
  • One sign of humble people is the ability to attract and keep people more gifted and competent than themselves for the sake of their team or cause.
  • When you value the counsel and input of others, especially on the things you’re best at, you embark on a path toward greater wisdom.
  • Left unchecked and unaddressed, pride leads to a hardened heart.
  • Nothing kills pride like humility does. Only humility can get you out of what pride got you into.
  • Gratitude fosters humility because it moves you out of the role of the star in your story.
  • Unchecked, pride will blind you. You’ll stop learning from anyone you deem to be beneath you or equal to you.

Burnout

  • Life can be a series of ungrieved losses.
  • Taking the time to grieve your losses is one of the healthiest things you can do.
  • Live in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow.

Emptiness

  • Workaholism is the most rewarded addiction in America today.
  • If you want to beat emptiness, find a mission that’s bigger than you. As long as you keep making your life all about you, you’ll experience one round of emptiness after another.
  • Ask yourself this question: Which kingdom am I living for? Left unchecked, I will always live for the Kingdom of Me.
  • The only thing more terrifying than dying to yourself is living for yourself.
  • I encourage you to put Christ at the center of your mission.
  • The emptiness inside you will go away only when you decide to stop making life all about you. You need a mission bigger than you.

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

This week we look at Chapter 9 “Do What You Are” in Os Guinness’s book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • Somehow, we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us.
  • God normally calls us along the line of our giftedness, but the purpose of giftedness is stewardship and service, not selfishness.
  • Work takes up so many of our waking hours that our jobs come to define us and give us our identities. We become what we do.
  • A sense of calling should precede a choice of job and career, and the main way to discover calling is along the line of what we are each created and gifted to be. Instead of, “You are what you do,” calling says: “Do what you are.”
  • The truth is not that God is finding us a place for our gifts but that God has created us and our gifts for a place of his choosing—and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there.
  • We are only truly “ourselves” and can only truly “do what we are” when we follow God’s call.
  • To find work that perfectly fits our callings is not a right, but a blessing.
  • In many cases a clear sense of calling comes only through a time of searching, including trial and error. And what may be clear to us in our twenties may be far more mysterious in our fifties because God’s complete designs for us are never fully understood, let alone fulfilled, in this life.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 39 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s