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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr.
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

  • Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Opportunity. Tim Challies writes “While work may not be exciting and may not be particularly fulfilling, I’ve been struck recently by how much our joy can be improved or eroded by people who work very ordinary jobs. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that ordinary people working ordinary jobs have an extraordinary number of opportunities to improve or erode our joy.
  • High Performance Leadership. Watch this short video from Mark Miller on high performance leadership.
  • “Because I Want To?”: A Christian Approach to Desire and Vocational Calling. Bill Fullilove writes “Cultivate a godly desire, and then let that be part of your vocational choice.”
  • Leading with Love. On this episode of the Minute with Maxwell podcast, John Maxwell talks about the importance of loving the people you lead.
  • 9 Notable Quotes from Lead. Here are 9 quotes from Paul Tripp’s book Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church, one of my favorite books from 2020.
  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).

  • Can I Be Content in the Life I’ve Been Given? Scot Bellavia writes “If I’m not prayerful about my purpose, my desire to become immortalized on the pages of the internet or on the shelves of a library can mirror the intention of the people of Babel. Like them, I want to make a name for myself. God obliterated their brazen effort.”
  • How Can I Save for Retirement Without Being Greedy or Foolish? Luke Bolton responds to the question I don’t want to foolishly save too little, but neither do I want to greedily save too much. How can I know how much to save for retirement?”
  • What Do the Psalms Have to Say About Work? Russ Gehrlein shares a brief summary of some of the observations about work from the Psalms that he has compiled in his book Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession.
  • What if We Take Gentleness to Work? John Pletcher writes Perhaps now more than ever, we need the rare quality of gentleness. It’s essential in our workplaces, the boardroom, strategic planning sessions, and daily meetings with clients.

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • Every morally good task has dignity, whether the laborer sweeps floors or runs a company. Dan Doriani
  • There are no perfect jobs. All jobs will have thorns and thistles. Sometimes we just have to gut it out for a season until things improve or something better comes along. Russ Gehrlein
  • In America, leaders crave recognition and credit. In Jesus, leaders think less of themselves, and give credit to others. Scott Sauls
  • Don’t let success go to your head. Don’t let failure go to your heart. Tim Keller
  • Learning in retirement can be preparation for a new job, career, or volunteer position that flows from a God-given calling. Jeff Haanen
  • Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. John Wooden
  • You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you will lose yourself if you say work is the meaning of your life. Tim Keller
  • We are most happy when we are doing and being what God created us to do and to be. Stephen Nichols
  • Nothing in life is as rewarding as fulfilling your calling—nothing. Wealth, fame, achievement, recognition: all of them fall short. John Maxwell


FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr. Crossway. 176 pages. 2011 edition. 
****

In this helpful book, Gene Veith gives us an exposition of the doctrine of vocation, and then he applies that doctrine in a practical way to life in the twenty-first century. He begins by looking at the nature of vocation – what is the purpose of vocation, how to find one’s vocation, how God calls us to different tasks and how He is present in what we do in our everyday lives. He then addresses specific vocations and specific problems common to them all. His treatment of vocation is drawn mainly from Martin Luther’s understanding of vocation.
Veith tells us that God has chosen to work through human beings, who, in their different capacities and according to their different talents, serve each other. This is the doctrine of vocation. The purpose of vocation is to love and serve one’s neighbor. The doctrine of vocation encourages attention to each individual’s uniqueness, talents, and personality. These are valued as gifts of God, who creates and equips each person in a different way for the calling He has in mind for that person’s life.
Veith tells us that the Reformation theologians emphasized the equality of vocations before God, and that each Christian has multiple vocations. We have callings in our work, in our families, as citizens in the larger society, and callings in the church. In addition, callings change over time.  And whatever our vocation is, and in the very way it changes, our callings are not completely under our control; rather, they come from the Lord’s hand. Despite what our culture leads us to believe, vocation is not self-chosen. We do not choose our vocations, instead, we are called to them.
Finding your vocation, has to do, in part, with finding your God-given talents (what you can do) and your God-given personality (what fits the person you are). The doctrine of vocation, though it has to do with human work, is essentially about God’s work and how God works in and through our lives. Our part is to carry out our vocations. The outcome belongs completely to the Lord.
Veith tells us that the Christian life is to be lived in vocation, in the seemingly ordinary walks of life that take up nearly all of the hours of our day. The Christian life is to be lived out in our family, our work, our community, and our church.
In addition to the doctrine of vocation, topics that the author addresses in the book are the origins of work, evangelism, callings in the family, society and church, rest and retirement.  This is an excellent introduction to the topic of the vocations and callings of the Christian.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • Work is a blessing; work is a curse. Work can indeed be satisfying, since it is what we were made for, but it can also be frustrating, pointless, and exhausting. Work is a virtue, but it is tainted by sin.
  • Christians are engaged in the world by carrying out their vocations. This is how they can be a positive influence in the culture.
  • It is in vocation that evangelism can most effectively happen.
  • The family is the foundational vocation. Other earthly authorities grow out of the authority exercised in the family.
  • Being a citizen of a particular nation is a divine calling.
  • Being a Christian is itself a calling. That is to say, a person becomes a Christian by being called by God.
  • Laypeople are especially positioned to reach people outside the church, by virtue of their secular vocations, which put them in contact with people who would never darken the door of a church.
  • What surprises some Christians is that when all is said and done, the specific responsibilities of vocation are not any different, from the outside, for Christians or non-Christians. A Christian construction worker or a Christian physician does pretty much what a good non-Christian in those fields must do.
  • We indeed have a calling to serve in our local churches, but it must be emphasized that our so-called “secular” vocations are actually “holy offices” where we are to serve our neighbors and live out our faith.
  • The Bible tells us to work; it also tells us to rest. We are to pause from our work to worship God on the Sabbath Day. In vocation, we are to rest in Christ even when we are hard at work.
  • Retirement from a lifelong vocation can be difficult, especially for those with Protestant work ethics. Properly, though, the laying down of a vocation after many years of work is a kind of Sabbath, a kind of reward for service rendered.

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

Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson
Drawing on years of research, ministry, and leadership experience, in this new book Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson explain why Sunday morning worship and Monday morning work desperately need to inform and impact one another. Together they engage in a rich biblical, theological, and historical exploration of the deep and life-giving connections between labor and liturgy. In so doing, Kaemingk and Willson offer new ways in which Christian communities can live seamless lives of work and worship.
This week we look at Chapter 7: The Prophets Decrying the Destruction of Work and Worship. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • The prophets offer two straightforward warnings. First, if workers regularly engage in unfaithful worship practices, the integrity of their work will suffer in a variety of ways. Second, if workers regularly engage in unfaithful work practices, the integrity of their worship will suffer as well.
  • According to the prophets, the temple and the marketplace are profoundly interdependent. On the positive side, when the ways of the Lord are honored in both worship and work, flourishing will flow freely back and forth between the temple and the fields. On the negative side, when the ways of the Lord are dishonored, idolatry and injustice will flow freely.
  • Idolatry is not a thing of the past. It is a present and pervasive power in contemporary work and worship.
  • Both markets and temples, worship leaders and workers, are capable of poisoning God’s holy designs for worship and work.
  • Work without integrity leads to worship without integrity.
  • Going through the motions in the sanctuary will not transform our working lives.
  • If workers hope to remain faithful in corrupt economies, they will need to develop and practice their own “counterliturgies” on a daily basis in the workplace.

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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  1. Pingback: What do the Psalms Have to Say About Work? | Reflections on Theological Topics of Interest

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