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 

  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is now available in both paperback and Kindle editions. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • Help! I Feel Like a Failure. In addressing a question from a reader who feels like a failure, Greg Phelan writes “We can find hope in our failure because God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.”
  • 5 Things I Learned About Work from Working Remote. Daniel Darling writes that since working at home during the pandemic God has helped him see work in new ways.
  • Five Foundational Ideas About Work Taught in the Bible. Hugh Whelchel shares five foundational ideas about work taught in the Bible. Understanding these five ideas will help us build a solid, Biblical view of work, vocation, and calling.
  • Good Work and the Gift of a Hobby. Steve Lindsey writes “Hobbies can be a great option for many reasons, not the least of which is their overlooked ability to enhance our regular daily jobs.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Master of One: Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do by Jordan Raynor
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • What Should I Do When Coworkers Use Bad Language? Russ Gehrlein writes “Remember that you are accountable to God only for your own language. Even while you may have some success in cleaning up your coworker’s bad language, it is the state of your heart, and theirs, that matters most.”
  • How Do We Offer Our Everyday Work to God? In this short video, J.I. Packer addresses this question.
  • If You Inherited a Fortune Today, Would You Be at Work Tomorrow? Hugh Whelchel writes “As followers of Christ, we must address our failure to live as His followers in the workplace and to think theologically about how we integrate our faith and our work. We must learn not just to work to live, but to live to workfor the glory of God.”
  • How Can I Glorify God When I Have No Work? Laura Baxter shares five thoughts for an individual who is at home after losing their job as a result of the coronavirus.
  • Is My Career in Marketing in Vain? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question Can the products of a humanist company like mine be at all redeemed by the God-glorifying work done by their Christian employees? Or is a career change needed?”

10 Faith and Work Quotes from Paul Tripp’s New Book
Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church

  • Humility means you love serving more than you crave leading.

  • Humility means seeing fellow leaders not so much as serving your success but serving the one who called each of you.
  • Grace means we are not held to our worst moment or cursed by our worst decision.
  • If you look at your leadership community through the lens of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will transform your expectations, your commitments, your behavior, and the way you respond to difficulty.
  • Every leader leads while being in desperate personal need of the full resources of God’s grace.
  • Every ambition and every achievement must bow to the lordship and the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • True failure is always a character issue. It is rooted in laziness, pride, lack of discipline, self-excusing, failure to plan well, lack of joy in labor, and failure to persevere during hardship.
  • In ministry, success and failure are not a matter of results but are defined by faithfulness.
  • If you take credit as a leader instead of assigning credit to the one who sent you and who alone produces fruit out of your labors, you will praise less, pray less, and plan more.
  • God doesn’t call us to ministry leadership because we are able, but because he is.

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Master of One: Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do by Jordan Raynor. WaterBrook. 240 pages. 2020 
****

This is an excellent book about our calling, or as Jordan Raynor, author of Called to Create, refers to as our “one thing”. Raynor tells us that we tend to be good at a lot of different things, but we aren’t excellent, masterful, or exceptional at any one of them. He encourages us not to be satisfied to say that we are a “jack of all trades, but master of none”. Instead, in order to best glorify God and love others through our vocations, he writes that we must do our work with excellence. And we can’t do our most excellent work until we actually discern the work God has created us to do most exceptionally well, and then, once we’ve found it, focus on becoming a master of that craft. How to find that work and master it is what this book is all about.
In the book the author builds a case around this core idea, leaning heavily on God’s Word, extensive research of the world’s best business and scientific literature, his own personal experiences, and the stories of more than twenty Christians (Eric Liddell, C. S. Lewis, Tony Dungy, Fred Rogers, and Chip and Joanna Gaines, as well as people you may not be familiar with), who are undeniable masters of one vocational thing.
The book is divided the book into three parts – The Purpose of Mastery, The Path to Mastery and The Promise of Mastery. The author has developed a free “Master of One Notebook,” filled with practical prompts, additional resources, and plenty of space for the reader to download and work out how the ideas in the book apply to your own work. Each chapter ends with a helpful Chapter Summary, Key Scripture and Next Action.
The author tells us that if we want to make our greatest contribution to the world for the glory of God and the good of others, we are going to have to adopt the mind-set of a craftsperson and get “really focused and insanely good” at the thing God has put us on this earth to do. He states that the truth is that we can’t “do it all” so long as you accept that God has called you to excellence in all things. Instead, the wiser path is the one he explores throughout the book, making every effort to discern the one vocational thing God has called us to in this season of life and working at it with all our hearts.
Below are my favorite quotes from the book:

  • We feel God’s pleasure when we know we are doing the work he created us to do.
  • The path to making the greatest impact through our work is the path of less but better, of continually pruning our careers in order to focus on the work we were created to do most exceptionally well for the glory of God and the good of others.
  • You achieve true mastery when you identify the few things God has created you to do most exceptionally well and work at them “with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
  • Passion follows mastery, not the other way around.
  • Masterful work requires tremendous focus.
  • The most fundamental reason why we Christians ought to pursue excellence in our work is to bring glory to God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
  • Our work can only be a calling if someone calls us to it, and we work for their agenda rather than our own. For the Christian, this means working for the sake of our Savior. What is his agenda? To glorify God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
  • Our one thing ought to be where our passions and gifts collide with the greatest opportunity to love and serve others through masterful work.
  • Choosing your vocation is not about choosing between good and bad or right and wrong. It is about choosing between better and best.
  • If we are unwilling to say no to the nonessential in order to focus on the work we feel called to master, we are selfishly holding back the contribution God has called us to make in the world.
  • There is no end to the path of mastery. Mastery is not a destination but a lifelong journey of continually honing our crafts in order to more effectively declare the excellencies of our Creator and serve those around us, always believing that “better is possible.”
  • We were not created for mediocrity. We were created for mastery.

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.
Here are a few takeaways from Chapter 24: A Focused Life:

  • Calling directly counters the great modern pressure toward pluralization because the call of Jesus provides the priorities and perspectives that are essential for a focused life in an overloaded age.
  • The very character of calling counters the fragmentation and overload at key points and opens up the secret of a focused life in a saturated world.
  • Follow the call of Christ despite the uncertainty and chaos of modern circumstances, and you have the story line of your life.

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.

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