Do you feel that the only work that really has value in God’s eyes is “full-time Christian work”, such as serving in the ministry as a pastor, or as a missionary? Do you feel that there is both “secular” and “sacred” or “religious” work, and that secular work is a necessary evil, just to pay the bills, support your family and church, but having no real value in God’s eyes? This “secular vs. sacred” view of work is a false one, though many people, if not most, believe it to be true. Hugh Whelchel, in his book How Then Should We Work, states that “Scripture teaches no separation between the secular and the sacred. No church-related work or mission is more spiritual than any other profession such as law, business, education, journalism, or politics”, or I would add any white or blue collar work, volunteering as a retiree, or being a stay-at-home Mom. God values our work, as long as we are doing work that is pleasing to Him. Continue reading
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Camcraft Wins IndustryWeek’s 2015 Best Plant Award. “Camcraft is a global leader in manufacturing high-precision machined components for the automotive and off-road vehicle engine markets. The Bertsche family says Camcraft was a gift to them from God, and they see themselves as stewards of the business. This video shows how they take great pride in their team, their technology, their craftsmanship—and how Biblical principles guide all of their work.”
- What a Christ-Centered Business Is and Is Not. Darren Shearer writes “For those of us that live in a free society and are called and gifted to be entrepreneurs and business leaders, how much more do we have opportunities to shape the culture of our businesses. We can dedicate our businesses to God and submit them to his purposes and strategies.”
- Light for Electricians: How Christians Bring Hope to Business. “The Work of Our Hands” is a new Christianity Today series from Jeff Haanen and Chris Horst. The series will spotlight Christians bringing truth, goodness, and beauty to their workplaces and sectors of influence.
- Serving Christ Among High School Students. Angela Shepherd interviews Tim Shaw, a social studies teacher and department chair at Booker High School in Sarasota, Florida, an urban school with an esteemed visual and performing arts program, about his work.
BY THE NUMBERS:
- One Essential to Building Great Organizations. Dan Rockwell writes “Great organizations have leaders who work on the business, not just in it.”
- 3 Types of Accountability Every Leader Needs. Eric Geiger writes “Who a leader listens to shapes much of what a leader does. A leader who surrounds himself with wise counsel is a leader who is much more likely to lead well. A leader surrounded by fools is a leader who is doomed to fail.”
- 3 Resources Leaders Must Steward Wisely. Eric Geiger writes “Leaders have time, energy, and money at their disposal, but they only have a finite amount of each. Therefore, leaders must steward these three resources wisely.”
- 4 Characteristics of People You Want on Your Team. Kevin Lloyd writes “You invest in people; especially those on your team. Before you invest into a person, I want to give you 4 often looked-over qualities that need to be present.”
- 4 Ways to Resolve Conflict at Work. Selma Wilson writes “Conflict is a normal part of work and life but most of us seem unprepared to process it for positive outcomes.”
- 4 Reasons Leaders Must Apologize When They Mess Up. Selma Wilson writes “It takes courage to apologize — courage to take responsibility for your actions with no excuses. But a courageous leader is a leader that people want to follow.”
- 4 Benefits of Weaknesses. Dan Rockwell writes “Strengths take you further than weaknesses, but turning a blind eye to your weaknesses limits your potential.”
- 5 Words a Leader Never Wants to Hear. Brian Dodd writes about the phrase “I didn’t see that coming”.
- 7 Dangers of Prideful Leadership. Ron Edmondson writes “If we are not careful, our attempt at good leadership will be derailed by the pride of our hearts.”
- 8 Specific Ways to Make Email Work Better for All of Us. Brad Lomenick writes “Email, whether you like it or not, is still the primary communication tool in companies, churches, non-profits, and all organizations.
- Nine Bible Texts That Ought to Challenge Leaders. Chuck Lawless writes “To be a Christian leader is no small calling. Whether you serve as a church pastor, a lay leader, or a Christian who leads in the secular world, you are under obligation to be a strong and faithful witness for Christ. Here are several texts that should challenge you—and provide you a grid through which to evaluate your life today.”
- 12 Bible Verses Every Leader Needs to Memorize. Ron Edmondson writes that if we want to be great Biblical leaders we should consider memorizing these verses.
- 12 Proven Productivity Hacks to Help You Win Every Day. Michael Hyatt encourages us to start the night before, maximize our morning hours, and stay focused throughout the day.
VOCATION, CALLING AND CHARACTER:
- How to Carve Out Your Life’s Passion John Maxwell writes “Following your passion changes your life and the lives of those around you. It makes life exciting. It inspires your team. It transforms the grind of work into an invigorating challenge.”
- Beauty Shattered by Brokenness: Joy and Suffering in Calling. Mark Dawson continues his series on calling.
- Martin Luther on Vocation and Serving Our Neighbors. Gene Veith writes “For Martin Luther, vocation is nothing less than the locus of the Christian life. God works in and through vocation, but he does so by calling human beings to work in their vocations.”
- The Unspoken Vocational Hierarchy. Dennis Bakke writes “God has deployed most of his working children into secular environments to serve the ordinary needs of society. Our calling is to serve others, and along the way our own needs will be met.”
- The Season of Increased Return. John Maxwell concludes his series on the seasons of life everyone goes through. He writes “The season of increased return is all about investment. It’s being able to give from your abundance in ways that make a difference.”
- The Unappreciated Blessing of Busyness. David Qaoud writes “There’s a difference between busy and hurry. Busy is when you have a lot on your plate. Hurry is when you have too much on your plate.”
- Work Essential to Happiness. David Murray writes “God has so made us that work is part of our being, part of our humanity, part of our satisfaction, part of our joy. As we are able, we need to be active, to be constructive, to be creative, and to be productive if we are to be happy.”
- Caring. John Maxwell is famous for saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” In this “Minute with Maxwell”, Maxwell talks about the importance of a leader caring about the people they lead.
LEADERS AND LEADERSHIP:
- Why Bono is One of Our Greatest Leaders. Ellen McGirt writes that U2’s Bono has “An ability to convince others that they are the true leaders of change, not him. Here’s what business can learn from a music legend.”
- Are You a Driven and Dangerous Leader? Dave Kraft writes “Driven leaders are primarily out to make much of themselves rather than making much of Jesus and his kingdom. They may be unaware that they are driven rather than led; that it’s really all about them and not about others or the kingdom.”
- What is the Most Difficult Thing in Leadership Today? Brad Lomenick writes “In my opinion, one of the most difficult things in leadership is balancing the tension of being friends with your team, while also being their boss and demanding excellence and execution.”
- Leaders Need Deliberate but Flexible Intentionality. Dave Kraft writes “I believe that success in any endeavor (personally or professionally) will be built on the back of “Flexible Intentionality.”
- The Leadership Core: Strategy, Leadership, Impact. Stephen Graves writes “If you’re a mindful, effective leader, you will have three parts to your core: Strategy, Leadership, and Impact. Everything you are and do is anchored to one of these terms.”
- Reasons Emotional Intelligence Is so Important for Leaders. Art Rainer writes “Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a big topic among leaders. And for good reason. Here are five reasons emotional intelligence is so important for leaders.”
- A Leadership Time Investment Strategy That Works. Scott Cochrane writes “I’ve learned that as a leader you are either a time waster, a time loser, a time spender, or a time investor.”
- The Dark Side of Charismatic Leadership. Dave Kraft writes that we need to be aware that there can be a dark side of charisma. He states “In this way, followers may be less susceptible to the charm and seduction of those few leaders who seek to deceive them.”
How Then Should We Work? by Hugh Whelchel. WestBowPress. 172 pages. 2012.
The author is the Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise for helping people integrate their faith and vocational calling, or work. He wrote this book as a simple Biblical primer on integrating our faith and work. His purpose is to explore the Biblical intersection of faith and work, attempting to help us understand the differences between work, calling, and vocation and how they should be biblically applied in our daily lives.
He writes that for many Christians work is often only a means to an end. They have bought into the belief that leisure is good and work is bad. They also believe that working in the church is the only “real” fulltime Christian service. However, he states that believers must learn not just to work to live, but to live to work for the glory of God. No church-related work or mission is more spiritual than any other profession such as law, business, education, journalism, or politics. He writes that the church has failed to understand and respect the secular vocation.
He looks at four areas related to the Biblical doctrine of work in the book:
- The Biblical understanding of work as outlined in the Old and New Testaments.
- The history of the doctrine of work as experienced by the church during the last 2000 years.
- Defining the Biblical principle of all work as calling and how we are to live our lives in the light of that truth.
- The future, offering some direction for rediscovering the lost Biblical doctrine of work and how our vocational calling can help us impact our communities, cities and our world by helping to restore the culture to the glory of God.
The author writes that the significance of our work is directly related to its connection with God’s work. He states that when we answer God’s call to use our gifts in our vocational calling, we are participating in God’s work.
I found this to be a very good book to help me integrate my faith and work.
- The biblical worldview has the highest opinion of the most menial of work. Tim Keller
- Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. S. Lewis
- It’s not about having the skill to do something. It’s about having the will, desire and commitment to be your best. Coach K
- Persevere, your hard work may earn you, in a sense, the right to speak into the unhealthy work culture you’re in. Darrin Patrick
- Your job isn’t fixing, correcting, and improving. It’s creating environments where others fix, correct, and improve. Dan Rockwell
- Since God is in charge, you can be called to a vocation, but not called to be successful in that vocation. Tim Keller
- Character not only takes time to build, but its results often take years to sprout up. Stephen Graves
- Doing anything badly hurts Doing anything poorly that pertains to the practical arena is unloving because it brings harm to others. Matt Perman
- Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. John Wooden
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
Dr. Nelson is also the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Kansas City. He is also the President of Made to Flourish, a network of pastors integrating faith and work. This is one of the better books that I have read on integrating faith and work. This week we look at
Chapter 1: Created to Work
- As human beings, we have been designed not only to rest and to play but also to work.
- First, humans are designed by God to exercise proper dominion over creation, which is a divinely delegated stewardship role. Second, humans are designed by God to be his image-bearers, to uniquely reflect who God is to his good world.
- At a very foundational level, we must recognize our image-bearing reveals that God is a creator, a worker.
- Being made in God’s image, we have been designed to work, to be fellow workers with God. To be an image-bearer is to be a worker. In our work we are to show off God’s excellence, creativity, and glory to the world. We work because we bear the image of One who works.
- For anyone to refuse to work is a fundamental violation of God’s creation design for humankind.
- Because God himself is a worker, and because we are his image-bearers, we were designed to reflect who God is in, through, and by our work.
- Our work, whatever it is, whether we are paid for it, is our specific human contribution to God’s ongoing creation and to the common good.
- For us to view work outside a theological framework is to inevitably devalue both work and the worker.
- Already in Genesis we see that vocation is not something we ultimately choose for ourselves; it is something to which God calls us.
- We were created with an important stewardship in mind, to cultivate creation and to keep it; and we are commissioned by God to nurture, care for, and protect his creation.
- Properly understood, our work is to be thoughtfully woven into the integral fabric of Christian vocation, for God designed and intended our work, our vocational calling, to be an act of God-honoring worship.
- Living before an Audience of One also means that all we do and say is to be an act of God-honoring worship.
- Doing our work before an Audience of One changes what we do and how we do it. Living with this mind-set helps us connect our faith with our work, for we live before the same Audience on Monday at work as we do on Sunday at worship.
- In a thoughtful essay simply titled “Why Work?” Sayers writes, “The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to [moral instruction and church attendance]. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables. . . .” Sayers continues, “Let the church remember this: that every maker and worker is called to serve God in his profession or trade—not outside it. . . . The only Christian work is good work well done.”
- It is hard to imagine how our understanding of work and the quality of our work would change if we would truly live before an Audience of One and fully embrace the truth that the only Christian work is good work well done.
- If you understand that God designed you to contribute to his creation, you will take seriously how and where you are called to make your important contribution in the world.
- Daily we are confronted by a sobering reality that our work, the workers we work with, and the workplaces in which we work are not as God originally designed them. In a myriad of ways we are painfully reminded each and every day that we live and work in a fallen and corrupted world.