Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Tom Nelson, President of MTF: Work that Flourishes. On this episode of the Working with Dan Doriani podcast, Dan visits with Tom Nelson, president of the faith and work organization Made to Flourish, a pastor, and the author of several books including: Work Matters, The Economics of Neighborly Love, and, most recently, The Flourishing Pastor. In this episode Tom and Dan discuss the world of faith and work, and Tom’s profound, lifelong commitment to bridging, what he calls, the Sunday to Monday gap.
- Reflections on Working in a Job a Long Time. Russ Gehrlein invites us to consider with him what it might look like for a Christian to remain in the same job for an extended season.
- 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).
- “One Easy Thing” to Help Pastors Engage Their Audience. Missy Wallace writes “Based on my experience and research, I think “one thing” that can make church feel more relevant and applicable to the day-to-day lives of your congregants (and doesn’t cost anything) is to implement faith and work in your sermons.”
- Vocation: Your Distinct Sphere of Responsibility. Katherine Leary Alsdorf writes ““Work,” we realized, is not a uniform human experience: it is a profoundly diverse and complex activity.”
- Take Time to Be Unproductive: How Busyness Can Waste a Life. Kelly Kapic writes “What if God doesn’t expect us to be productive every moment? What if growing comfortable with slowness, with quiet, with not filling every moment can help reconnect us to God, others, and even with our own humanity? That’s at least worth thinking about.”
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
- More links to interesting articles
- The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- My Review of Love and Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life by Marcus Buckingham
- Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic
- Will Our Life’s Work Continue in Heaven? Randy Alcorn writes “Because there will be continuity from the old Earth to the new, it’s possible we’ll continue some of the work we started on the old Earth. I believe we’ll pursue some of the same things we were doing, or dreamed of doing, before our death.”
- Coming Out as Christian at Work. Denise Yohn writes “Living out our authentic selves at work can be one of the greatest blessings to God, to the people we work with, and to us.”
- Mere Christians: Andy Crouch. On this episode of Mere Christians, Jordan Raynor sits down with Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making, to talk about the difference between impactand influence at work and why Jesus calls us to be the latter, the simple exercise you can do today to value those you work with beyond their productivity, and what Scripture has to say about the intrinsic value of your work.
- Harnessing the Power of Focus. Great leaders learn to focus on only doing what only they can do. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley and Lane Jones talk about the benefits of—and the roadblocks to—focused leadership.
- 5 Morning Habits You Need to Stop Today. I appreciated this short article from Dan “Leadership Freak” Rockwell.
- Where Will They Learn to Work? Teaching Children a Lost Ethic. Mary Beeke writes “How do we as parents instill a biblical work ethic in our children? What might diligence look like in their lives? Let’s approach this task by answering the why, when, how, and what.
- Mere Christians: Tony and Lauren Dungy. On this episode of Mere Christians, Jordan Raynor sits down with Tony and Lauren Dungy to talk about the barber who had a profound influence on Tony growing up, the best compliment you can receive at work, and the tension between pursuing excellence at work and being called to loving sacrifice at home.
- The Doctrine of Vocation. Gene Veith writes “The doctrine of vocation is one of the greatest—though strangely neglected and forgotten—teachings of the Reformation.”
Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- For Christians, work is fundamentally about contribution to others, not compensation; it’s an expression of our identity, but not the source of our identity; it’s about serving others, not personal success. Jeff Haanen
- 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
- Treat your employees as well as you want them to treat your customers. Dee Ann Turner
- 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. Daniel Doriani
- We fulfill our calling, wherever we are placed or planted. We are never released or excused from our purpose in life because this is the reason we are alive. Dee Ann Turner
- 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
- Because of the fall, we know that work is harder than it is supposed to be. Russ Gehrlein
- We were built for work and the dignity it gives us as human beings, regardless of its status or pay. Tim Keller
- In our Christian subculture, at home work is praised as good and faithful work. But if you find your hope and identity in folded laundry, a spotless refrigerator and children who praise you from the rooftops, you have misplaced affections regarding your work. Courtney Reissig
Love and Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life by Marcus Buckingham. Harvard Business Review Press. 266 pages. 2022
This is Marcus Buckingham’s tenth book, and I’ve read most of them. I’ve especially been helped by his work on strengths, and in particular his 2007 book Go Put Your Strengths to Work. A lot of has changed for Buckingham since then, including getting divorced and now engaged, his family going through the college cheating scandal and currently being the cohead of the ADP Research Institute.
There is a lot to process in this book about work (which I was most interested in), school, relationships and parenting. Some of his observations and recommendations may come across as shocking. For example, he tells us that high school, college and work are built in such a way as to distract your attention from your unique loves and loathes, and instead convince you that there’s nothing enduringly unique about you. He states that they are purpose-built to persuade you that you’re an empty vessel, and that your chief challenge in life is to fill this empty vessel with the skills, knowledge, grades, and degrees required to climb to the next rung on the ladder. He writes that we must find ways to put love back into our lives—into our schools and our workplaces, our parenting and our relationships.
Buckingham tells us that people generally don’t spend much time learning about who they are at their very best. To do anything great in your life, he tells us, you will have to take seriously what you love and express it in some sort of productive way. In this book, he shares what he has learned through research data, gives us some questions we can ask ourselves, and tries to teach us a brand-new language to make sense of us in our world. He also shares a lot of stories from his own life.
Buckingham writes that to help you find yourself again and thrive in a life that feels fully your own, you’re going to need to learn a new language, your love language (but not “those” love languages). The very first word to learn in this language is Wyrd. It’s an ancient Norse term, the idea that each person is born with a distinct spirit. This spirit is unique to you, and guides you to love some things and loathe others. To discover your Wyrd, trust in your loves.
He also introduces us to our red thread activities. He describes these as follows:
“When we are inside an activity, we love we are enveloped, so in the moment that we are no longer aware of ourselves. You are not doing the activity. You are the activity. Activities where you disappear within them, and time flies by.”
He tells us that our red threads won’t tell us in which particular job we will be successful. Instead, they’ll reveal how we – one particular individual – will be most successful in whatever job we happen to choose. He provides “The Red Thread Questionnaire” to help us to identify our red threads. Once you identify your red threads – your strengths – your challenge will be to weave them into the fabric of your life, both at home and at work.
He shares three signs of love—instinct, flow and rapid learning. He shares his feeling about being open to feedback, advice from others and other’s reactions. He shares five myths and truths to guide you in becoming a Love + Work leader. He shares his feelings about cascading goals, performance ratings, centralized employee opinion surveys, and performance feedback tools. He shares a “Love + Work Organization Interview”, a manifesto for child-centered schools and colleges, and thoughts on a space-making approach to parenting.
Buckingham tells us that the book is about you and how you can make sense of yourself and build a relationship with yourself based on love. I really appreciated the parts of the book about our work and the workplace. Not being a parent, I was far less interested in the parts about parenting or schools.
Below are 20 of my favorite quotes from the book:
- How you feel at work—whether your work is uplifting or soul-destroying, whether it fulfills you or empties you out, whether it makes you feel valued or utterly useless—all of it will be experienced most keenly at home, by you and the ones you love.
- At work, according to the most recent data, less than 16 percent of us are fully engaged, with the rest of us just selling our time and our talent and getting compensated for our trouble.
- Your weaknesses need to be dealt with, but your instinctive loves are where you’ll experience exponential growth.
- Anything of value you offer to others is your work.
- When you see someone do something with excellence, there is always love in it.
- The only way you’ll make a lasting contribution in life is to deeply understand what it is that you love.
- The true purpose of your work is to help you discover that which you love: work is for love.
- You don’t need to love all you do. You just need to find the love in what you do.
- For your loves to turn into contribution, pay attention only to the specific activities you love, not the outcomes of those activities. Pay attention to what you are going to be doing, rather than why. “What,” in the end, always trumps the “why.”
- Virtually any job is awful and soul-destroying if it is being done by a person who doesn’t find love in it.
- We shouldn’t assume anyone performing a job excellently must find love in all aspects of it.
- In study after study, those people who reported that they had a chance to do something they loved each and every day were far more likely to be high performers and to stay in the role than those who reported that they believed in the mission of the company or liked their teammates. It’s not that those other two things are unimportant; it’s just that what you are actually being paid to do is more important.
- It’s up to you—no matter what role you find yourself in—to take responsibility for weaving what you love into what you’re being paid to do.
- Distraction is the enemy of excellence.
- Workers who reported that they felt part of a team were not only 2.7 times more likely to be fully engaged, they were three times more likely to be highly resilient and two times more likely to report a strong sense of belonging to their organization.
- If you are not part of a team, our data shows, less than 10 percent of you feel engaged, resilient, and connected.
- Many organizations impose on you processes and tools that appear to have been designed to deliberately distance you from who you really are.
- If you can’t give each person weekly attention in some disciplined way, some way that starts with them and their answers, then you will be driving love out of your workplace, with all of the negative repercussions that come with it.
- The reality of what it’s like to work in the organization is always and only a function of your fellow team members and your team leader. The data on this is unequivocal.
- Trust is just everything. Without trust you can’t usher love into your organization.
Faith and Work Book Club – Won’t you read along with us?
We are reading through You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic. The list of demands on our time seems to be never ending. It can leave you feeling a little guilty–like you should always be doing one more thing.
Rather than sharing better time-management tips to squeeze more hours out of the day, Kelly Kapic takes a different approach in You’re Only Human. He offers a better way to make peace with the fact that God didn’t create us to do it all.
Kapic explores the theology behind seeing our human limitations as a gift rather than a deficiency. He lays out a path to holistic living with healthy self-understanding, life-giving relationships, and meaningful contributions to the world. He frees us from confusing our limitations with sin and instead invites us to rest in the joy and relief of knowing that God can use our limitations to foster freedom, joy, growth, and community.
Readers will emerge better equipped to cultivate a life that fosters gratitude, rest, and faithful service to God.
This week we look at the second half of Chapter 5: Is Identity Purely Self-Generated? Here are a few quotes from the chapter:
- It is not our creaturely limits that make us sinful, but rather the absence or deformation of love.
- Because our identity is found in Christ, the problem with our sin is less that we have broken a rule and more that we are not acting according to who we are.
- We turn away from sin because it is unfaithfulness to God and it destroys fellowship with him, his people, and even ourselves.