Coram Deo ~

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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 a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • How Can I Best Manage My Remote Team? Russ Gehrlein responds to a question about how to best manage a remote team during the COVID-19 pandemic. He writes “Let me share a few of my own experiences, several biblical principles that may be applicable, and some practical wisdom as you attempt to navigate these rough waters.”
  • Are You a Servant Leader and Didn’t Know It? Ken Blanchard writes “To me, servant leadership is the only way to guarantee great relationships and great results.”
  • Working Genius Livestream Event. In this video, Patrick Lencioni introduces his new “Six Types of Working Genius” model, which will help you find energy and joy in your work and your life.
  • Fuel for Work. In this video, Mark Greene discuss the workplace leader’s challenging dilemma in Acts 27.
  • How Can I Show Neighborly Love at Work? In responding to this question, Mary Wiley writes “I’ve often heard colleagues say they want to know they are appreciated; they want an adequate amount of help and collaboration with a team; they want to be celebrated when they do good work.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human by John Mark Comer
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • The Beauty and Dignity of Manual Labor. In this episode of the Living the Bible podcast, David Murray states “If our culture doesn’t value manual work, it’s easy to think that God doesn’t value manual work, that such work is not so worthy or useful in God’s eyes. But, in Exodus 31:1-11, God helps us to re-assess the dignity, value, and spirituality of manual work, with many positive spiritual consequences.”
  • God in the ER During a Pandemic. On this episode of the Making it Work podcast, Leah Archibald and Mark Roberts visit with Dr. Mike Sunu, an emergency room physician in Southern California to talk about how he has experienced God in the ER during COVID-19.
  • How Culture Making Brings Glory to God. Jacqueline Isaacs writes “No matter what your vocation, what your interests, or your God-given talents, you are making culture in small ways every day.”
  • 6 Prayers for the Workers in Your Life. “One practical way we can help workers in our churches, communities, and individual lives, is to pray for their flourishing. Praying for others also helps us remember where God has been faithful, where we need him to work, and shows the watching world that we rely on a God big enough to hear our every need and meet us in those places.”
  • How Faith Affects Our Work. Tim Keller shares four ways Christian faith influences and shapes our work.

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Better than “Pray like a Calvinist, work like an Arminian” is “Pray like a Calvinist, work like a Calvinist.” God’s absolute sovereignty fuels, not undermines, our labors. Dane Ortlund
  • In the biblical understanding of giftedness, gifts are never really ours or for ourselves. We have nothing that was not given us. Our gifts are ultimately God’s, and we are only ‘stewards’—responsible for the prudent management of property that is not our own. This is why our gifts are always ‘ours for others,’ whether in the community of Christ or the broader society outside, especially the neighbor in need. Os Guinness
  • If you’re living for nothing more than your own significance, you will feel more and more insignificant. Tim Keller
  • Jesus’ leadership model in the Gospels: No man is prepared to preach and teach who is not prepared to mop and vacuum. Dane Ortlund
  • It has been said that most people today worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. Burk Parsons
  • Work is about spiritual formation. And every assignment you have to ask yourself, what is God trying to do in me? What is he trying to burn away? What is he trying to grow, what is he trying to flourish?” Sheeba Philip
  • Jesus teaches us an upside-down paradox that leadership, true, long-term lasting leadership is first followership. So, what Jesus tells us is that we need to learn to follow well before we really lead well. Tom Nelson
  • Christians are called to be engaged and faithfully present in institutions that are themselves unhealthy. The only way to do that over time is to translate to and persuade other Christians that these are spaces that we need to be in and we need to love them. John Inazu
  • Our entire role as an entrepreneur is to take everything that we have, all of our skill sets, our personality, our networks, and to apply it to creating a solution that helps fill that gap to enable people to flourish until Christ comes back again. Jessica Kim


FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human by John Mark Comer. Zondervan. 295 pages. 2015
*** 

This book was recommended by Jordan Raynor in his book Master of One: Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do. In fact, the main idea for Raynor’s book comes directly from Garden City. Comer, a pastor, has a lively and witty writing style, and uses scripture throughout the book, often citing the original language. We can learn much from Comer in this book on the subjects of work and rest.
The book is organized into three sections:
Part 1: Work (the largest portion of the book)
Part 2: Rest
Part 3: The Garden City
Comer tells us that what we do is central to our humanness. What we do flows from who we are. Both matter. The vast majority of our lives are spent working, with the next largest amount being resting. He states that in the church, we often spend the majority of our time teaching people how to live the minority of their lives, but we need to talk about all of life, which includes work.
He tells us that the core question of the book is What does it mean to be human? or Why do we exist? What are we here for? What’s our meaning? Our purpose? Is there any? He states that we were created to rule over the earth. That’s our meaning, our purpose — it’s why we exist.
In Part 1, he tells us that the Garden was never supposed to stay a garden; it was always supposed to become a garden city. This world is what’s left of the Garden. Our job is to take all the raw materials that are spread out in front of us, to work it, to take care of it, to rule, to subdue, to wrestle, to fight, to explore, and to take the creation project forward as an act of service and worship to the God who made us.
In this section he addresses our calling, indicating that for most of us, our calling or vocation won’t become clear until our thirties. He writes about the erroneous – but widely believed – idea of a sacred/secular divide, that some things are sacred or spiritual, and they matter to God; but other things are secular or physical, that don’t matter to God, at least not much.
He writes that as followers of Jesus we have a dual vocation. Our original calling — to rule over the earth, and to make culture. And a new calling — to make disciples. To help people come back into relationship with the Creator, so that they can rule over the creation.
He writes about disliking the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”, and states that many of us don’t really have one thing that we’re good at. But he challenges us to find that one thing that we are really good at, which can be very narrow or quite broad. This is the essence of Raynor’s book Master of One.
In Part 2, he discusses practicing the art form of Sabbath. Just as God worked in creation, and then rested, so we work and then rest. He tells us that Sabbath is not the same thing as a day off. On a day off you don’t work for your employer, but you still work. On the Sabbath, you rest, and you worship. He states that like work, when it’s done right is an act of worship, the same is true with rest. You can rest as an act of worship to God, yet very few of us actually take a Sabbath— a day for nothing more than rest and worship.
In Part 3, he writes that we were made to work, and we will work forever, that our work in this life is practice for our work in the coming life. He states that some of the good work we do will actually last into God’s new world, and that perhaps even our occupation will follow us, past death and into the age to come. He writes that all good work done in this age will be rewarded in the age to come.
In a brief Epilogue, he tells us that there will always be someone who does their work better than you. We should do our work as an expression of love and service, ultimately to God, and then to our neighbor.
I found this to be a helpful addition to my library of books that discuss calling and the integration of our faith and work.
Below are a few helpful quotes from the book:

  1. Your vocation is your calling in life.
  2. So much of finding your calling is about finding out who you are and what you alone can contribute to the world.
  3. It’s just as important to know who you’re not and what you aren’t called to, as it is to know who you are and what you are called to. Because the clearer your sense of identity and calling are, the more you can focus on what God made you to do.
  4. Do one thing. And do one thing well. And do that one thing well as an act of service and love for the world and to the glory of God.
  5. When we stop working, we lose a part of who we are.
  6. Your work is a core part of your humanness. You are made in the image of a working God.
  7. The best way to find your calling is to start asking questions. Lots of them.
  8. For most of us, our sense of calling starts out vague and unclear — more of a feeling and a desire than a five-year plan — but over time it comes into focus.
  9. Listen for God’s voice. Ask him to help you discover your calling.
  10. To focus, we need to know what we’re called by God to do, and what we’re not called to do. Who we are, and who we aren’t.
  11. Our job isn’t to fit into some mold or prove something to the world; it’s to unlock who God’s made us to be, and then go be it.
  12. Sabbath is a way to break our addiction to accomplishment and accumulation.
  13. The Bible opens with God giving humans a vocation, a calling to rule, to look after his creation and make it flourish, and ends with that vision finally coming to pass and even going forward.

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 look at Chapter 28: Everybody’s Fools. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • Calling entails the cost of discipleship. The deepest challenge is to renounce self and identify with Jesus in his sufferings and rejection.
  • Foolbearing is essential to calling because it is the true way to count the cost of identifying with Jesus. It is the price of obeying his call, renouncing self, and taking up the cross to follow him.
  • All followers of Christ are called to be fools for Christ, but some are made to be more foolish than others. Regardless, the internal cost is always the same: death to self.
  • Foolbearing is essential to calling because it positions us unmistakably before the world as a counterculture, antithetical to the world’s very being.
  • Foolbearing is essential to calling because it is Christ’s way of responding to injury. Nothing in the Gospels is more revolutionary than Jesus’ call to respond to injury in a new way.
  • When all is said and done, foolbearing is simply faithfulness.

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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