Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- How to Dismiss an Employee in a Church or Ministry. Darren Carlson shares steps you should take when firing someone from a Christian ministry for matters apart from gross moral failure and disqualification.
- How Can I Lead a Quiet Life When My Job Requires Self-Promotion? Miranda Carls responds to the question “First Thessalonians 4:11–12 talks about making it your ambition to lead a quiet life. As a commercial real estate broker, I’m told to advertise and promote myself to attract new clients. How should I reconcile these apparently opposing positions?”
- How Can Parents and Grandparents Support Their Child’s Vocational Journey? Russ Gehrlein writes “As I have come to better understand the theology of work over the past eight years, I know that I have an obligation to share with my children and grandchildren what God says about work in the Bible and more importantly, help them to see how God is preparing them for their calling.”
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
• More links to interesting articles
• The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
• Faith and Work Book Review ~ A Good Return: Biblical Principles for Work, Wealth and Wisdom by John C. Lennox
• Quotes from the book Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society by Amy Sherman.
- Working With Others Is Difficult – Get To Know People To Value Them. Howard Graham writes “Working with others is not easy and working with some people can seem almost impossible. We have all had difficulty working with overly competitive people, a hard or greedy boss, an unmotivated, undisciplined, or indecisive teammate, someone who is selfish, or someone who is just in the wrong job.”
- When You’re Called to Take a Business Risk. Greg Phelan responds to the statement “I think God is leading me to start a business, but I’m afraid of failure.”
- Follow the Way You Want to be Followed. Tim Challies writes “There is a simple rule that can bring consistency between the way each of us responds to leadership and the way each us exercises leadership: Follow the way you want to be followed.”
- Employees Can Honor the Lord’s Day. Fred Greco writes “Employers are no longer able to determine which religious practices are important and which are not: “Title VII requires that an employer reasonably accommodate an employee’s practice of religion, not merely that it assess the reasonableness of a particular possible accommodation or accommodations.”
- 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).
- In Sleep, We Trust: Our Need to Rest is God-Created. Scot Bellavia writes “Nothing we do is done by our own power. God gave us the Sabbath to show us he is our provider.”
- Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide. Tom Nelson writes “Is it true that much of our daily lives have little ultimate meaning and no eternal significance? Are we pretty much rearranging chairs on the deck of a sinking Titanic world? Does our daily work matter?”
- A Podcast Series to Nourish Your Spirit. Take some time this summer replenish yourself with the Global Faith & Work Initiative’s Knowing God in Work and Rest podcast series.
Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
- Work and vocation are not identical. Vocation entails service in the place where God has given gifts and a desire to make a difference in this world. Dan Doriani
- Do you have a deep sense that God has designed and prepared you to do what you get paid to do? Russ Gehrlein
- To violate the rhythm of work and rest eventually leads to chaos. Tim Keller
- God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. Eric Liddell
- Living the mission of Jesus means taking your faith into your work and your life and praying for it to change people’s hearts toward God. Tim Keller
- We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. R.C. Sproul
- Do not be discontented with your calling. Whatever God has made your position or your work, remain in that, unless you are quite sure that He calls you to something else. Let your first concern be to glorify God to the best of your ability where you are. Charles Spurgeon
- The notion of calling, or vocation, is vital to each of us because it touches on the modern search for a basis for individual identity and an understanding of humanness itself. Os Guinness
- Our leadership legacy is not just limited to what we accomplished, but it includes what we leave behind in the hearts and minds of those with whom we had a chance to teach and work. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
- Sabbatical is a way to structure time in early retirement to heal past wounds, seek God’s voice, and find God’s call for the next season of life. It’s the time to ask the honest question “God, what are You calling me to do in retirement?” Jeff Haanen
FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:
A Good Return: Biblical Principles for Work, Wealth and Wisdom by John C. Lennox. Christian Focus Publications. 194 pages. 2023
John Lennox is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him speak at the Sing! Conference, and have read a few of his previous books. In this book, he discusses biblical principles that he has found helpful in his own work in the hope that the reader can apply them to their own situation. Each chapter ends with helpful questions about the material covered in that chapter. In addition, there are two appendices included:
Appendix A: Principles of Gospel Support
Appendix B: Insights from Neuroscience
Throughout the book, Lennox shares helpful stories, including some from his own life, as well as examples from the Bible about David, Daniel, Nehemiah, Joseph and Zacchaeus. Among the subjects he addresses in the book are making work an idol, rest, anxiety, evil, suffering, evangelism, moral issues (money, sex, and power), our motivation for work, sin, the artificial secular-sacred divide, work as a calling, gospel patronage, reward, and principles for the support of the gospel.
Throughout the book, Lennox refers to material from Iain McGilchrist’s 2021 book, The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World, though I didn’t feel that the material added a lot to this book (though this could certainly be due to me not being able to fully comprehend the information).
The author tells us that the purpose of work is seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness, and that whatever our work, we are to do it as accountable to the Lord, seeking His righteousness and desiring to develop our moral integrity. He suggests asking ourselves in every situation we find ourselves in (paid and unpaid work): what does it mean to please the Lord now?
A Good Return is a book that provides helpful principles about work and wealth.
Below are some of the quotes I found most helpful from the book:
- It will be important for us not to fall into the trap of imagining that the only kind of work that matters is paid work.
- This creation pattern established the cycle of work and rest for human beings and, therefore, in any consideration of work, it is important to think about the necessity of taking regular rest from that work.
- If we are busy people, indeed, especially if we are busy people, we need to remind ourselves constantly that we should do what we do to please the Lord, because He has accepted us. We are not doing it to impress Him, so that He will accept us. Only then, will we have the right attitude to our work.
- Christians are not to be lazy and idle; they are to work to provide for themselves and dependents.
- Our colleagues and fellow workers are a network in which God has placed us as witnesses by how we live (in character), and what we say to them about the gospel when we get the opportunity.
- Doing our work as unto the Lord will therefore mean, not only doing it with integrity to the best of our ability but will mean having a responsibility to prayerfully look for opportunities to witness to our fellow employees/workers/colleagues, as and when we can credibly do so.
- It is the workplace, whether at home, factory, farm, mines, shops, building sites or offices, where we usually face the challenges that shape our lives.
- Christians are to be different. By seeking God’s rule in their work, they are to act as salt and light in society, preserving it from corruption, and pointing the way to the source of the fulfilled life in Christ.
- To exercise power in the interests of others as a Christian leader, and be a role model in terms of integrity for others, is an immense privilege.
- The Lord is interested in every aspect of our lives, and not simply in what we think of as our spiritual activities. Our daily work is to be done for Him.
- Heaven will be no boring rest home, but a hive of fascinating activity where the skills and experience developed on earth will be transformed into something higher, richer, and infinitely satisfying.
- The fact that our work not only has a temporal but also an eternal significance is one of the unique glories of the Christian faith.
Faith and Work Book Club – Won’t you read along with us?
We are reading Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society by Amy Sherman. Sherman is also the author of Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, a book I first read in my “Calling, Vocation and Work” class at Covenant Seminary.
Every corner, every square inch of society can flourish as God intends, and Christians of any vocation can become agents of that flourishing. In this book, Sherman offers a multifaceted, biblically grounded framework for enacting God’s call to seek the shalom of our communities in six arenas of civilizational life (The Good, The True, The Beautiful, The Just, The Prosperous, and The Sustainable).
This week we look at Chapter 4: The True Flourishing in the Realm of Human Knowledge and Learning
- Churches should be vigorously engaged in education, including via partnerships with public schools.
- Pursuing knowledge is one avenue for learning more about God, his multifaceted creation, and his present work in renewing all things.
- God’s vision for the world is shalom—universal flourishing. He has called us to join in his mission.
- In his graciousness God supplies common grace to humankind, enabling even those who have turned away from him to possess insight and creativity.
- God cares that all children are educated, not just the children of believers. It is not a stretch to assume that God cares about the state of our public schools.
- Supporting quality education of all children (believers and nonbelievers) is a matter of justice.
- Christianity’s history in the story of the spread of education is largely a positive one. Christ-followers have opportunities now to live into that legacy as well as to redemptively repair the harm that has been done in more recent decades.