Taking God to Work: The Keys to Ultimate Success by Steve Reynolds and David L. Winters. DAVIWIN. 280 pages. 2018
The co-authors of this book are Steve Reynolds, pastor of Capital Baptist Church in Annandale, Virginia, and David Winters, who worked more than 30 years as a federal employee and manager. Having a pastor and a marketplace leader co-write the book is not unlike what Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger did with their The Gospel at Work: How the Gospel Gives New Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs, one of my favorite books on integrating faith and work.
This book is very practical, and covers a large number of subjects concerning our work as believers, including some areas not covered by other books in the genre (such as the way we handle our personal finances, mistakes in our work, spiritual opposition, etc.). I appreciated the way in which the book was organized, with a helpful “Summary” at the end of each chapter, followed by a short “Spotlight Feature” which focused on a believer in the workplace, “Spotlight Questions”, “Study Questions” and a prayer. Including the “Study Questions” makes this very readable and practical book a good one to read and discuss with others who are wanting to better serve God in their work.
The author’s purpose in writing is to equip the reader to make the most of your work life and help create long-term success for you based on biblical principles. I cringe a little with talk of “success”, preferring that we be faithful in our work. Dan Doriani in his excellent new book Work: It’s Purpose, Dignity and Transformation, tells us that “Scripture speaks most often of faithfulness, not fulfillment, in labor.”
The authors tell us that the primary purpose of work has been for men and women to take care of God’s world and each other. They encourage us to look beyond our earthly boss and see the Father as our employer. They state that any legitimate work that involves caring for people and doesn’t involve sin is part of God’s plan to care for the world. They encourage us to invite God’s presence into our workspace, a subject Russell Gehrlein addressed at length in his fine book
Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work.
Some of the sections of the book I found of most value were temptations at work (both of an external nature and those that come from our own internal fallen nature), deciding when to change jobs, living a balanced life and rest, relationship issues (working with difficult people), stress (fear and worry), mistakes in our work, and retirement.
This is not a deeply theological look at work from a Christian perspective, but a very practical book filled with helpful stories and illustrations.
Below are 10 of my favorite quotes from the book:
- God meant for us to be workers, whether we work at a job, by volunteering, or at home in the family.
- As employees within a company or organization, we have the responsibility to treat all people equally, whether or not they adhere to our belief system.
- Work is not a curse from God but is a gift from God.
- Our efforts should reflect the glory of God in everything we do.
- God wants us to pursue excellence in everything we do.
- God instructed us to rest one day each week. From the beginning, His plan included rest.
- The biggest work problems are people problems. In fact, most people change jobs because of relationship issues.
- When we say goodbye to our workplace or our career, perhaps the most important thing is to know we tried our best to please God each day.
- Until God calls you to your eternal home, you have not completed your earthly work.
- Retiring from a career should just be a transition to even more rewarding service.