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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • 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 compiled in his book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession.
  • Is Retirement Good for You? Or Not? Mark D. Roberts writes “Those who flourish in the third half of life have a purpose that is greater than their own wellbeing. They are living to serve others and to make a difference in the world, whether through paid or non-paid work. Ultimately, we who follow Jesus should see our retirement as a time to continue to live our whole lives as his disciples.”
  • Is the Quest for “Meaningful Work” a Scam? On this episode of the Quick to Listen podcast, Luke Bobo joins Christianity Today global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss if the Bible’s instructions about work make sense today, what is different about work in this moment, and how to navigate the additional abuse and exhaustion the pandemic has brought on.

  • 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).
  • Bet on Leadership. Mark Miller introduces the first of the 4 Moves of High Performance Organizations, Bet on Leadership, along with a brief overview of the 3 best practices.
  • How to Think Wisely About 40-Hour Workweeks and Offices. Jordan Raynor writes “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering: “Do we really need offices?” “Who said 9 to 5 were the ideal working hours?” and “If we’re able to work wherever and whenever we want, can’t we get our work done in less than 40 hours a week?” While Scripture doesn’t give specific answers, it does give three principles that will help us engage the pressing issues of work and time.”
  • All Good Work is God’s Work (Including Yours). Scott Sauls writes “Whether our work is done at home or out in the community, as volunteers or for a paycheck, an essential question has to do with how our faith relates to our work.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Work That Makes a Difference by Daniel Doriani
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

  • Carey Nieuwhof on Working at Your Best, Part 2. For high-capacity leaders who love progress, overworking and overcommitting can quickly become a way of life. But with burnout on the rise, many are wondering if there’s a better way. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Carey Nieuwhof finishes his discussion with Stanley about combatting burnout and working at your best.
  • How Do We Love a Broken World? By Faith interviews Steve Garber about his excellent book Visions of Vocation.
  • What Biblical Love Looks Like at Work. In this second article in a serieson applying the fruit of the Spirit in the workplace, Joshua Nangle looks at the relationship between love (the first characteristic mentioned in the fruit of the Spirit) and work.
  • The Why. In this episode of Minute with Maxwell, John Maxwell tells us that when we find our “why”, we will find our way.
  • How Jesus’ Teachings Were Influenced by His Work. Klaus Issler writes “Though many of Jesus’ work examples occurred in a different setting and context than a modern workplace, he addresses issues that we can still relate to today such as thoroughness and honesty.”
  • The Gift of Work. Steven Lindsey writes that “Chapter 2 of Genesis has three explicit and easy-to-remember points that drive home both the goodness and beauty of the gift of work.”
  • How to be a Christian in Law Enforcement. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra interviews Jon Moeller about how he handled the spiritual darkness of crime, what he learned about Christianity from 9/11, and what he teaches his criminal justice majors at Dordt University about how to be a believer in law enforcement.
  • The Greatest Burden of Leadership. Tim Challies writes “I believe the greatest difficulty of all is the knowledge that I am leading poorly. It’s the knowledge that I am not leading as well as I could or as well as I wish I would.”
  • I “Just” Do Ordinary Work. Dan Doriani writes “Ideally, believers can eventually move from “I just” to “I make a difference—at least in my corner of the world.” To say (humbly) “I make a difference,” we must see the value of ordinary work. Scripture helps us here.”

  • I’ve got so much work to do today, I’d better spend two hours in prayer instead of one. Martin Luther
  • Immanuel labor highlights work that God does with us, in us, and through us with His holy hands or protection and blessing. Russ Gehrlein
  • Value people over progress. It’s how great leaders achieve progress. Ron Edmondson
  • Work of all kinds, whether with the hands or the mind, evidences our dignity as human beings—because it reflects the image of God the Creator in us. Tim Keller
  • Aimless, unproductive Christians contradict the creative, purposeful, powerful, merciful God we love. John Piper
  • Our character determines how we act when no one else is looking. Dee Ann Turner
  • Jesus came into this world not as a philosopher or a general but as a carpenter. All work matters to God. Tim Keller
  • Servant leadership means putting others before yourself. Dee Ann Turner
  • Retirement is the chance to pick up the strands of your calling that might have been latent during your career and develop them more fully into your life’s work. Jeff Haanen
  • You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you cannot say that your work is the meaning of your life. If you make any work the purpose of your life—even if that work is church ministry—you create an idol that rivals God. Tim Keller

Work That Makes a Difference by Daniel Doriani. P&R Publishing. 112 pages. 2021 

This is the second book that Daniel Doriani, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Work in St. Louis, has written on work, following 2019’s excellent Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation (see my review here).
I took two courses with Dr. Doriani at Covenant Seminary. He has written this book to help readers find the good work God has for them and to do it faithfully. The book aims to equip disciples to serve, love, and lead in the workplace and for the common good. The book has been designed to be discussed in a community of eight to twenty people, and includes helpful discussion questions at the end of each chapter. It is designed to prepare formal and informal leaders to tackle projects that will help to effect positive change in their workplaces.
The author tells us that work is important because God created humans in his image, and he works. Our work is important and challenging because God planned it that way. He writes that the biblical view of work rests on certain fundamental principles. Twelve principles present a biblical road map, but society offers very different guides. He identifies nine influential ideas about work.
Success in our work depends on many factors. In this book, the author identifies and focuses on four essentials—principle, passion, position, and perseverance. The book includes case studies that incorporate these essentials. An Appendix on Faith and Work Projects includes the steps toward a project that could make a difference in your corner of the world.
The author tells us that good work has:

  • The right motive, love for God
  • The right norm, God’s Word
  • The right goal, God’s glory and the benefit of neighbors

Among the subjects addressed in this short, but helpful book, are good work, work that pleases God, work to which we are to give our best effort, working too much or too little, the biblical concept of calling, faithfulness, ordinary work, volunteer work and rest.
This would be an excellent book to read and discuss with others, including in an adult Sunday School class. I recommend it along with the author’s previous book on work, Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation.
Below are several of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • Work calls for sustained effort, skill, and a resolve to reach a goal despite obstacles.
  • We glorify God when we use our talents joyfully and effectively.
  • If anyone has a gift that is both rare and strategic, they should recognize it, hone it, and use it gladly, if called upon to do so.
  • When God bestows gifts, he expects people to use them.
  • The greater our gifts and opportunities, the more the Lord expects of us.
  • Work pleases God if it manifests love and brings benefits to our neighbors, whether they are nearby or distant.
  • Work pleases God if it promotes the common good.
  • Good workers also sort out the times when they should give their best effort. Time and energy are limited, so we complete ordinary tasks but devote ourselves to great ventures.
  • Work was good in the beginning, but sin spoiled it.
  • A calling is work that flows from, expresses, and deepens our identity.
  • A calling is our contribution to society, the labor that makes our lives matter. At best, it draws on our gifts and experiences and becomes our life’s work, the task God prepared us to do.
  • No honest calling is morally superior to another.
  • Work can be exhilarating; we might do it for free. And yet all work, paid and unpaid, has its griefs.
  • A believer’s first goal is not to find a calling but to find himself or herself in the callings he or she already has.
  • God blesses all faithful work, in any honest job.
  • Faithfulness means we don’t leave biblical morals in the parking lot when we arrive at work.
  • Faithful workers strive to apply Christian principles to their work.
  • We make a difference when we do ordinary work well.
  • Godly leaders often have an opportunity to limit the worst tendencies of godless businesses or governments.
  • We may make the biggest difference when we stop calculating and surrender to an inspired indifference to results.
  • The Western mind supposes that one works five days to earn a right to rest and play on the weekend. But Scripture instructs the redeemed, at least, to start the week with rest and then to work. In Scripture, rest is a gift, not a reward for hard work.
  • Most of us work too much or too little. We need to repent and start afresh.
  • No matter how much we like our work, the Lord designed us for more. We need to know when to stop.
  • God gave us a day of rest so we would flourish.
  • For most of us, work is the chief place where we love our neighbors as ourselves.
  • Through our work, we become the hands of God.

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 begin looking at Chapter 11 Worship That Gathers Workers. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • Corporate worship must be intentionally designed to encourage workers to humbly offer their work and their whole lives as sacrifices—holy and pleasing—to God.
  • “Bringing your work to worship” is not natural for modern Western worshipers. It takes intentionality and practice. Workers need to actively prepare during their journey to bring their work into the sanctuary.
  • A worker’s journey into corporate worship is an opportunity for honest vocational examination.
  • Pastors and worship leaders should carefully consider the visual signals they send to workers about what and who is truly welcome in worship.
  • The pastoral welcome at the beginning of a worship service plays a vital role in bridging the gap between the world of work and the world of worship.
  • Those who plan and lead worship have a responsibility to remind worshipers that it is both right and good for them to carry their vocational tears before God.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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