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

  • 5 Ways to Make the Most of Unemployment. Tom Nelson writes “When we find ourselves unemployed, how do we make the most of it? Trusting God and his promises, we can take positive steps in moving forward.”
  • How to Faithfully Work from Home in a Season of Teleworking. Russell Gehrlein addresses some of the unique challenges he has faced since having been forced to telework on short notice due to social distancing as a result of the pandemic. Then, he focuses his thoughts on how his Christian faith is impacted by this new environment.
  • Leading in Times of Disruption. Uncertainty and disruption are why the world needs leaders. In this month’s episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Andy and Lane Jones discuss how to lead in uncertain times.
  • Thank God It’s Monday. John Stonestreet writes “To be Christian is to be called to God’s redeeming work in the world. And anyone who is in Christ can and should seek to glorify God wherever they are—even on a Monday.”
  • Business for the Common Good On-Demand. The Denver Institute recently launched Business for the Common Good On-Demand, a resource they are giving away for The videos and discussion guides address questions like: How do you determine if a business is successful? Is it reflected in a positive balance sheet, gleaming customer reviews, or a charismatic CEO? What if God measured success by a broader standard—by the way businesses help every employee, supplier, consumer, or community they touch to thrive?
  • How to Thrive in Work. Paul Tripp shares six gospel principles that will allow you to thrive spiritually in your place of employment.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Hand Me Another Brick: How Effective Leaders Motivate Themselves and Others by Charles Swindoll
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • Canceling the Noise in Your Work. Steve Graves writes “You can slow down or change the demands of your work. You can alter the structure of your work. But we are hardwired to make a contribution to society until the day we die, albeit in differing volumes. By that definition, work isn’t an option; it’s functioning properly”.
  • 11 Anti-Racist Actions You Can Take at Work—Today and Every Day. Michelle Garcia shares 11 practical actions you can take to be an ally to people of color at your job.
  • Is Work a Necessary Evil? “When we talk about work, there’s often what feels like a tangible gloom that hangs overhead. It’s the “TGIF” motto or the “I Hate Mondays” t-shirts that drive a belief that work is, by nature, difficult, depressing, and unfulfilling. It’s an annoying obstacle on our way to the weekend, and no trendy co-working space can convince us otherwise. But why do we feel this way?” In this short video, Paige Wiley, co-author of Worked Up: Navigating Calling after College, looks at the myth that work is a necessary evil.
  • Celebrating the Dignity of Front-Line Workers. Al Erisman writes “The broader view of the faith and work movement is not a new concept, and there many examples to learn from. Perhaps with the current emphasis on “essential workers,” we will come from this period with a renewed sense of this wider view of faith and work.”

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • Calling means that life is lived for God’s sake or for its own sake under God. Intrinsic satisfaction outweighs external rewards, such as pay, advancement, and recognition. Os Guinness
  • 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?” Bryan Chapell
  • In grace God lifts you up and calls you to his kingdom work and it’s his grace that enables you to do what he’s called you to do. Paul Tripp
  • Created to work, we are to find meaning in our work. But also, we are able to distort the meaning of our work, imagining that our work means more or less than it ought. Getting it right matters because work matters. Steven Garber
  • 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
  • Your work is your mission field, and because of that, there is a God-given dignity in what you do. Bryan Chapell
  • 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
  • All jobs—not merely so-called helping professions—are fundamentally ways of loving your neighbor. Tim Keller
  • By helping people find fulfillment in their work, and helping them succeed in whatever they’re doing, a manager can have a profound impact on the emotional, financial, physical and spiritual health of workers and their families. They can also create an environment where employees do the same for their peers, giving them a sort of ministry of their own. All of which is nothing short of a gift from God. Patrick Lencioni


FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Hand Me Another Brick: How Effective Leaders Motivate Themselves and Others by Charles Swindoll. Thomas Nelson. Revised edition 1998. 237 pages. 
***

I recently re-read this book, which was one of the first books I read as a new believer in the mid-1980’s. The material in the book was originally delivered as sermons by the author to his church in California.
This book is based on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. The author tells us that the main theme of the Book of Nehemiah is leadership, and that what the book has to say concerning leadership speaks to the same issues that we face today.
Early in the book, Nehemiah is the cupbearer to the king. Midway through the story, he is the builder of the wall. In the third part of the book, he is governor of the city and surrounding sections of Jerusalem.
The author tells us to think of the Book of Nehemiah as being divided into two main sections. In the first six chapters, there is a reconstruction of a wall; in the last seven, there is a reinstruction of the people who built that wall. The first six chapters tell the story of a dominant character (Nehemiah) who was the builder and superintendent over the job and ultimately became governor over the people of Jerusalem. In the last seven chapters, the leadership shifts to Ezra who was a priest and scribe. But throughout, there is one central theme, leadership—how God uses one person to motivate and encourage others into new fields, new vistas, new actions for change. In the first six chapters, God uses Nehemiah to teach us sound principles of leadership; in the last seven, He uses Ezra.
Nehemiah had one task, and that was to build a wall around the city of Jerusalem. Like our daily work, this may not sound very spiritual, but it was God’s will for his life. And prayer was the first major step Nehemiah took in his journey to effective leadership.
Themes in the book include prayer, opposition and criticism, discouragement, discernment, insight, and passivity. The book includes a helpful “Study Guide”, which makes it a good book to read and discuss with others.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • You lead someone to the measure you influence him.
  • The more responsibility we shoulder, the more time we need for contemplation before our Father.
  • All who lead must place a high priority on prayer.
  • Going out by faith doesn’t mean you’re going out in a disorderly or haphazard manner. You think through a project and count the cost financially.
  • Experiencing criticism and opposition doesn’t necessarily mean you are outside God’s will. Rather, it may reinforce the fact that you are in the very center of His plan.
  • God honors orderly thinking.
  • When you cast blame and criticism, you squelch motivation. When you identify with the problem, you encourage motivation.
  • If you never get criticized, chances are you aren’t getting anything done.
  • For the leader, opposition is inevitable.
  • Every leader must develop the ability to measure the value or worth of criticism. He has to determine the source and the motive, and he has to listen with discernment.
  • Sometimes the best course of action is to respond to criticism and learn from it.
  • The very first thing that ought to result from criticism is prayer.
  • The problem that plagued Nehemiah was that of discouragement.
  • Guard against the subtle teaching that suggests that God does everything and you step back and do nothing.
  • Self-control is a virtue the leader cannot afford to be without.
  • Correcting any problem begins by facing it head-on.
  • Discernment is a God given quality a leader must possess. Discernment allows you to read between the lines.
  • Insight is an essential trait for leaders. A leader must be able to see the big picture, to project into the tomorrows of any undertaking, to visualize the outworking of a plan.
  • The distinction of a godly leader is that when he does business, he does it with integrity.

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.

This week we’ll look at Chapter 20: More, More, Faster, Faster in Os Guinness’s book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • Calling, which played a key role in the rise of modern capitalism, is one of the few truths capable of guiding and restraining it now.
  • This in turn requires us to remove two modern myths that form roadblocks to understanding money. One is the myth that the making of money matters more than the meaning of money, as thousands of salespeople, schemes, and seminars trumpet daily. The other is the myth that money is simply neutral, merely a medium of exchange. The truth is that money is much more than a monetary issue. It was, and is, a spiritual issue.
  • Throughout history the most universally acknowledged problem with money is that its pursuit is insatiable.
  • The line drawn between “For Sale” and “Not for Sale” is a prime indication of a nation’s or group’s values. The sign of a good society is the level and number of things acknowledged to be beyond market values—and thus appreciated for their own sake and not for extrinsic, especially financial, rewards.
  • The overall lesson of insatiability is that money alone cannot buy the deepest things we desire. Money never purchases love, or eternity, or God. It is the wrong means, the wrong road, the wrong search. That is why the pursuit is vanity.
  • Jesus challenged his hearers to choose one master or another—God or Mammon. Either we serve God and use money or we serve money and use God.
  • The crass heresy of the prosperity doctrines and the “health and wealth gospel” is the bastard child of corrupted calling.
  • Certainly, no truth is more manipulable than calling when it is corrupted. But certainly, too, no truth is more potent than calling when it is reformed.
  • Calling means that, for the follower of Christ, there is a decisive, immediate, and moment-by-moment authority above money and the market. The choice between Masters has been made.
  • Calling introduces into society a different style of operating that directly counters the market mentality. We do what we do in life because we are called to it rather than because we get paid for it.
  • Thus, there are, if you like, two economies—a “calling economy” as well as a “commercial economy”—and for followers of Christ the former, not the latter, is supreme.
  • Calling means that life is lived for God’s sake or for its own sake under God. Intrinsic satisfaction outweighs external rewards, such as pay, advancement, and recognition.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 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: Reflections on Teleworking | Reflections on Theological Topics of Interest

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