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

  • What does Ecclesiastes Teach us About Work? Russell Gehrlein shares quotes about work from Ecclesiastes that he included in his book Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession.  
  • The Non-Negotiable Virtue in Leadership. Matthew J. Hall writes “If those we lead doubt our character, it really doesn’t matter what they think of our competence.”
  • Character. In this episode of Minute with Maxwell, John Maxwell tells us that character is the core of leadership.
  • Stop Running from Rest. Stephen Graves writes “Rest is an unmistakable priority—in Scripture and in my own experience. Work always attempts to invade rest, though, and therefore, rest requires faith. We have to believe that the God who tells us to take a break, the God who made us to need rest, can take care of everything in our stead.”
  • I’m Not Good at My Job – Is the Lord Telling Me to Quit? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “What role does success play in discerning my vocational calling?”
  • When Your Calling Seems Vague and Unclear, You’re on the Right Track. Jeff Goins writes “Discovering what you were meant to do will require action and reflection, and this is how awareness of our calling is grown.This is what will ultimately lead to the realization that this thing you’re doing, this all-important something, just might be what you were born for.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Mission at Work: Finding God’s Grace Through Your Professional Work by Bryan Chapell
  • Snippets from Chapter 12 of Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • Leadership in a Single Verse. Dave Kraft writes “My most basic, and simplest, definition of leadership is: A leader is a person who takes people from where they are to someplace else.”
  • The Joy Thief Known as Busyness. Jimmy Lewis writes “Whether you’re a soccer mom with a full-time job or a day trader on Wall Street, I know that busyness can easily steal your joy, ifyou aren’t vigilantly fighting for joy in Christ and striving to glorify him in all that you do.”
  • In the Beginning. Andrew Peterson writes “Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do.”
  • Your Community Defines Your Calling. Watch this four-minute video for some thoughts from Andrew Peterson about the surprisingly concrete ways in which he has found his own calling to be given substance by his community.
  • To Serve God in Heaven Will Be a Great Reward. Randy Alcorn writes “Service is a reward, not a punishment. This idea is foreign to people who dislike their work and only put up with it until retirement. We think that faithful work should be rewarded by a vacation for the rest of our lives. But God offers us something very different: more work, more responsibilities, increased opportunities, along with greater abilities, resources, wisdom, and empowerment. We will have sharp minds, strong bodies, clear purpose, and unabated joy. The more we serve Christ now, the greater our capacity will be to serve Him in Heaven.”
  • How to Overcome Anxiety in the Workplace. Matt Rusten writes “Churches can play a unique role in providing a God-centered, practice-based perspective on dealing with anxiety.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • We cannot and will not fully flourish unless we become personally invested in the universal Christian job description—to use our time, energy, imagination, and resources to leave God’s world better than we found it. Scott Sauls
  • We long for what we do to grow out of who we are, for our occupation(s) to be rooted in our vocation. That is the hope of everyone’s heart. Steven Garber
  • Sometimes, sometimes, heaven meets earth in and through our work, and it becomes almost sacramental—and then sometimes we curse the very work of work. We are our best and our worst at work. Steven Garber
  • According to the Bible, we don’t merely need the money from work to survive; we need the work itself to survive and live fully human lives. Tim Keller
  • God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does. Martin Luther
  • It’s possible to maximize our happiness in whatever work God gives us by doing it with excellence. Randy Alcorn
  • All the competency in the world can’t compensate for a lack of character. Ultimately, your character is your lid. Carey Nieuwhof
  • Business is not hard. Love people and treat others as you would want to be treated…. over time, prosperity will follow. Dave Ramsey
  • Servant leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them. Ken Blanchard

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Mission at Work: Finding God’s Grace Through Your Professional Work by Bryan Chapell. Unlimited Grace Media. 128 pages. 2019
****

This book was based on a sermon series delivered by the author at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, where he is Senior Pastor. You can listen to those sermons here.
The book is designed to help us understand and more fully experience personal dignity and divine purpose in the varied jobs that we do to serve God and all that he loves. The author tells us that when we realize that every honest job exists on the holy ground of God’s calling, then we will rejoice in the mission we have at work. The author writes that Sunday is for Monday, and we are called by God to do his work not just in worship but in the workplace.
In this book, he emphasizes that our work is a holy calling where we honor Christ in everything we do – whether it’s a business meeting, an important project, or even a phone conversation. We bear the name of Christ and have obligations to reflect his character in the workplace.
The author writes that God’s people are being called to his mission not just in Sunday worship, but in the everyday workplace. God calls us to use the work skills, talents, and resources that he provides for extending the influence of the kingdom of God into every dimension of our lives and world.  In the skills we express, in the products we make, in the way we work, in the impact of our labors on society and on the relationships affected by our work, we are instruments of God’s redeeming work in a broken world.
The book covers the following subjects: dignity, purpose, integrity, money, success, humility, leadership, balance and witness. Below are a few of my takeaways from each chapter:

Dignity

  • Your work is your mission field, and because of that, there is a God-given dignity in what you do.
  • When you begin to understand that you are valued before God not because of what you’ve accomplished but rather what Christ has accomplished for you, then your life will never be the same again.
  • Work has dignity because our labor comes before the fall of humanity.
  • When we begin to recognize work is not evil but is actually something that gives us purpose and a sense of worth, we begin to view our labor in a very different way. We discover work is dignifying.
  • Work gives us dignity, because work itself is dignified. When we begin to understand God’s perspective on work, and realize that is actually a form of worship.
  • We miss the deepest joys and neglect the most profound impact of our vocation if we do not recognize that our work is itself intended to extend the influence of God’s kingdom to every corner of creation.
  • When we begin to realize that there’s dignity in every vocation, then we realize that every job has a purpose of serving others and bringing glory to God.
  • When we are using the gifts that God has given us in the professions, he has called us, that gives him pleasure.

Purpose

  • It is always important for us as believers to examine our jobs and to ask, “Is what we are doing truly honoring to God?” Each Christian should be willing to ask, “Can I stamp Christ’s name on this product? Can I take Jesus with me on this job?”

Integrity

  • To live with integrity is to put ourselves at risk. Yet we are called to reflect God’s character through our lives regardless of the cost.
  • God calls us to integrity not just as a testimony to the watching world, but to our own hearts.
  • The ultimate goal of integrity is to point everyone to the Savior.
  • Mercy is about helping people who cannot help themselves and providing for those who cannot provide from themselves. That’s a physical message, but it reflects a spiritual reality.
  • We reflect the gospel when we take care of those who cannot help themselves.
  • We are called to care for those who cannot take care of themselves, because God has done that for us in Christ.

Success

  • If your goal is to bear Christ’s name in the workplace, as well as into the world, then you recognize that the measure of your success is what magnifies the name of Jesus.
  • The Lord holds us accountable for using whatever resources he has provided. And when we multiply those resources according to his purposes, that’s biblical success.
  • If faithfulness to God is not our measure of success, then the world’s expectations will become our standard.
  • We stand before God because of what he has done for us, not because of what we have done for him.

Humility

  • The Great Commission will never be fulfilled by those who are motivated by pride and who live to boast in their own glory. The gospel can only be proclaimed by those who humble themselves, confessing that they need the Savior just as much as those who do not know him.

Leadership

  • A biblical leader is someone who uses God’s gifts to champion God’s cause regardless of the costs or circumstances.
  • When we supervise people “in the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:12), we represent his priorities, his character, and his righteousness in the way we lead.
  • Neither the individual, nor the organization on whose health they and others subsist, gains from leadership that ignores wrong, irresponsible, or incompetent work.
  • Our patience with those we supervise should demonstrate the character of God we serve.
  • We do our best to be salt and light in our culture, our company, or our institution to bring God’s priorities into the world.

Balance

  • Without God’s blessing, our work is pointless.
  • When you begin to treasure what God has done for you, then you begin to involve him – for reasons more than guilt – in your workplace. He has your best interests in mind. So why wouldn’t you want him to be involved in your decisions, your conversations, and your goals?
  • There is nothing wrong with hard work or having legitimate concerns. But the faithlessness that drives workaholism and addictive anxiety is what the scriptures warn against.
  • If we keep on trying to find significance in what other people think or what we can accumulate, we know it will never be enough.
  • More and more, we are discovering the real wisdom of the biblical notion of Sabbath: that God can do more good with our lives in six days than we can do in seven days of nonstop labor. The Sabbath is, among other things, a declaration of freedom and a sign of a balanced life.

Witness

  • Jesus knows we will be persecuted for his sake, but he assures us that our problems are not greater than God’s promises.
  • When we shine Christ’s truths and his character in our places of work, we are bringing his light to our (and our co-workers’) world.
  • When we work hard with the unique gifts God has given us, we’re also celebrating his creativity. He has made each of us in his image with unique gifts, talents and desires. All of these can become part of our witness in the workplace.

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

This week we look at Chapter 12 “The Audience of One” in Os Guinness’s book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • A life lived listening to the decisive call of God is a life lived before one audience that trumps all others—the Audience of One.
  • To follow the call of God is therefore to live before the heart of God. It is to live life coram deo (before the heart of God) and thus to shift our awareness of audiences to the point where only the last and highest—God—counts.
  • To live before the Audience of One truly makes a demonstrable difference.
  • Like all for whom God’s call is decisive, it could be said of him, “I live before the Audience of One. Before others I have nothing to prove, nothing to gain, nothing to lose.”

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.

One thought on “FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

  1. Pingback: What does Ecclesiastes Teach us About Work? | Reflections on Theological Topics of Interest

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