Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Why Don’t We Take Our Spiritual Gifts to Work? John Pletcher writes “Subtly or not-so-subtly, church leaders communicate that our special, Christ-given abilities should only be relegated to Sunday services, ministries within churchy walls, and officially church-sanctioned missions in the community or ‘round the globe’.”
- How Should Christians Respond to the Current Worker Shortage? Russ Gehrlein writes “Undoubtedly, among these millions of Americans, there must be a large number of Christian men and women who have opted out of the workforce. I want to plead with and challenge my brothers and sisters in Christ with this word of encouragement: you have unprecedented opportunities right now to add light to the darkness and salt to a decaying world by bringing God’s presence with you to work.”
Stop Running from Rest. Steve Graves writes “What everyone wants is the very thing that we need more than we realize. Rest. True biblical rest. A real break from the weight and pressure of life and work.”
- Working Our Jobs as a Way to Love God and Love Our Neighbor with Russ Gehrlein. In this episode of The Kirby Laing Centre podcast listen to a conversation with Russ Gehrlein, author of Immanuel Labor–God’s Presence in Our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work. In the book and in this conversation, Russ seeks to bust some of the myths that many of us have received about our work, like: ‘the only truly important work is paid church or missionary work’, and ‘for the rest of us, our jobs are only valuable as an avenue for evangelism and to earn money in order to tithe’.
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
- More links to interesting articles
- The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- My Review of Leadership Not by the Book: 12 Unconventional Principles to Drive Incredible Results by David Green and Bill High
- Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic
- How to Glorify God in Business Success. On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “How should a Christian Hedonist who is successful in business and a prominent leader speak in front of others about their story? It seems like many ‘Christian business leaders’ make their success story all about themselves and then mask it all in a thin Christian wrapper. So, what is the best way to authentically and humbly recognize a position of leadership and success, but to speak of it in a way that makes God look great?”
- Live Out Your Calling Today. Adam Nesmith writes “How can you live your calling? Remind yourself each day “this is God’s sovereign will for my life.” And then work for His glory, not your own.”
- Hard Work & the Ultimate Worker. John Pletcher writes “Jesus was and is a worker. When we work “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3:17), reflecting his character in our endeavors, we actually join Christ at work.”
- Dismantling the Rising Sacred-Secular Divide. Jessica Schroeder writes “If you are a Christian today, your work is ministry. As followers of Christ and recipients of his forgiveness, love, and grace, we are called to be his ambassadors. We have been made new and, through our work, we join in God’s redemption and restoration plan.”
- How to Help Younger Believers in Your Vocation. Fernie Cosgrove shares three ways to help younger believers in your field.
- 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).
Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- It can take thirty years to build a reputation, and only five minutes to ruin it. Alistair Begg
- Serving others is the only valid motivation for leadership. Patrick Lencioni
- The call of God doesn’t come to the qualified. It qualifies you because it has come. Tim Keller
- Sabbath: Organizing our work around our rest and our lives around our worship, and not reversing the order. Scott Sauls
- We should strive to be faithful workers to the end as Jesus was faithful to the Father’s mission. Russ Gehrlein
- Thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person. Tim Keller
- The Lord’s Day is the glorious summit from which we survey the week to come, gaining strength to descend to the valley below us, laboring to ascend again to the pinnacle of our blessed one-in-seven rhythm. Chris Larson
- Different times of life bring different callings. Kelly Kapic
- The choice that everyone in Christian leadership must make is the choice between leading like Jesus, by pursuing Jesus-like greatness, and leading like the world, by pursuing what the world defines as greatness. Rico Tice
FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:
Leadership Not by the Book: 12 Unconventional Principles to Drive Incredible Results by David Green and Bill High. Baker Books. 224 pages. 2022
In this book, David Green, founder and CEO of arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby, and Bill High, share the uncommon business practices – the “secret sauce” – that Hobby Lobby has adopted that has resulted in their incredible success. They write that every one of the ingredients in the secret sauce comes from the Bible. In addition, most of the pivotal moments in the company’s history took place after Green experienced some divine episode engineered by the Holy Spirit. They write that if you boil down the secret sauce to one key ingredient, you will find the one element that makes the others work is listening to God and obeying His Word.
Hobby Lobby celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2022. In those fifty years, they have gone from less than $150 to $8 billion in sales. They carry more than one hundred thousand items (including seasonal merchandise), employ more than fifty thousand people, and give away 50 percent of their profits to help fund initiatives for God’s kingdom all over the world. The unconventional principles discussed in this book can apply whether you lead a business, a church, a nonprofit, or are just contemplating the idea of leadership.
The secret sauce ingredients can be organized in three major categories:
- God-centered practices
- People-focused practices
- Commonsense practices
Some of my takeaways about Hobby Lobby’s secret sauce were:
- To see yourself as a steward, not owner, of your business or ministry.
- The importance of prayer in our work.
- The importance of giving.
- The importance of character for leaders.
- The importance of a leader’s family.
- The importance of taking care of your people.
- The importance of listening to your people.
- To be true to your calling, your “one thing”.
Below are 15 of my favorite quotes from the book:
- God must destroy our arrogant pride if He is to bless the work of our hands. The Lord loves to bless humility, not smug self-confidence.
- When you’re an owner, wealth can easily become a curse. When you’re a steward, wealth becomes a tool.
- God is the owner of all things, and we are simply his stewards.
- Faith doesn’t mean trusting God only in the easy times. It means trusting God always, no matter the situation, whether in sunshine or storms.
- We obey God not because of what we will get but because He deserves our obedience.
- If you want to bless the world through your work, make prayer a priority.
- Obedience to God may cost you, but some things are more important than profit.
- No matter what other service you might perform, souls are your true bottom line.
- A good leader must have both the appropriate gifting and the necessary character.
- If you want to lead well, you must listen to your people and give them the freedom to challenge you.
- Listening matters. Hire smart, honest people, and then listen to them. When their ideas make good sense, implement them, give them the credit, and celebrate the resulting success.
- Never give leaders responsibility without also giving them the authority required to fulfill that responsibility. Responsibility without authority never works.
- To succeed as a leader, set up a great organization that allows you to focus on your gifting and not get distracted.
- We are not here to create trends. We never create a trend. Ever. We observe what customers want, and we give it to them.
- Doing your job wholeheartedly, as to the Lord, is most often the first step to greater responsibility and larger influence.
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 first half of Chapter 10: How Do We Faithfully Live within Our Finitude? Here are a few helpful quotes from this section of the chapter:
- A healthy view of our finitude allows us to step back, take a breath, and think about the importance of different seasons in life, the rhythms of our bodies and our days, our months, and our years.
- Different times of life bring different callings.
- To be vulnerable, to have weaknesses and needs, is not just a trendy idea; it is part of how God made us.
- Recognizing one’s vulnerability before God and others is fundamental to a Christian understanding of being human.
- We can’t flourish emotionally and relationally and vocationally without others. We need, and so we are vulnerable.
- God has made us dependent on his good work and gifts in others, so that affirming those gifts and encouraging them is no more than a realistic approach to life.
- Lament and gratitude are mirror concepts that highlight the same fundamental truth: we are dependent on the God who rescues us. Only when we accept our creaturely finitude will this make sense to us.
- Lament and gratitude together not only recognize our dependence on God; they also deepen our sense of his faithfulness.
- Thanksgiving is proper and intrinsic to human existence.