books

Make Good Tables

The church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him to not be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours and to come to church on Sundays. 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.

Dorothy Sayers from her essay Why Work [full essay] as quoted in Every Good Endeavor [Amazon listing

Week Three - Further Reading

Listed below are several of the books (and an essay) Bryan mentioned in this week's sermon:

Every Good Endeavor, by Tim Keller
A widely praised book on Faith & Work [Amazon]

Growing Leaders, by James Lawrence
The "Cycle of Grief" which Bryan explained, and Jon Parrish has recently used as well, is explained in this book on Christian leadership. [Amazon

Why Work, by Dorothy Sayers
A charming, oft-quoted, and remarkably powerful essay on the relationship of faith and work. [Essay]. Excerpted from Sayers' book, Letters to a Diminished Church [Amazon]

Start With Why, by Simon Sinek
Simon's 18 minute TED Talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action is the third most watched TED talk ever and summarizes the importance of starting with why. His book elaborates. [Amazon

Working Godward

[We] are called to take what God has made in all of its now-present falseness and remake it into something Godward and beautiful and Christ-honoring with a deep sense of fulfillment of who we are as created in the image of a maker.
— John Piper

In this brief interview with Pastor John Piper, he reflects on Dorothy Sayers' book Mind of the Maker (Amazon) and how it helped him to see all work as beginning with what God has made and seeking to remake it into something that honors him, just as Christ is remaking us. 

Doing Less

Many find work overwhelming and exhausting. There is literally always more to do. Always. In Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKewon guides readers through reflection on what matters most and what we can let go of. Many have found this book a helpful guide in silencing the often overwhelming superfluous demands for our attention, so we can focus on the heart of our real work. (Amazon link)

Essentialism-Amazon.jpg

"The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless."
— Greg McKewon

Artists and Gardeners

Photo by  Benjamin Combs  on  Unsplash
Genesis presents God as both Creator and Ruler of the universe. Creators are those who make something new; rulers are those who maintain order and separation.

And those who are made in his image will also be both creators and rulers.

They will have a unique capacity to create…to reshape what exists into something genuinely new.

And they will have a responsibility to care for what God has made.
— Andy Crouch, Culture Making

The subtitle of this book is Recovering our Creative Calling, which well-summarizes what Crouch is trying to help us do. He makes it clear that we can't make culture, but that culture is the result of what we're all making. In that sense, all of our attempts at "productive effort" are attempts to build, change, or maintain culture. Suddenly, everything you do has meaning...maybe more than you hoped for. [Amazon Link]  

Serving God at Work

image of NYC from timothykeller.com

image of NYC from timothykeller.com

In his book Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller provides a brief inventory of some of the most common perspectives taken by Christian writers exploring Faith and Work. There is considerable variety, and an argument can be made for each, yet they are different enough that it seems impossible to simultaneously pursue them all. As he puts it:

"So if you are a Christian who is trying to be faithful in your work, you might find yourself trying to weigh sentiments as varied as these:
• The way to serve God at work is to further social justice in the world.
• The way to serve God at work is to be personally honest and evangelize your colleagues.
• The way to serve God at work is just to do skillful, excellent work.
• The way to serve God at work is to create beauty.
• The way to serve God at work is to work from a Christian motivation to glorify God, seeking to engage and influence culture to that end.
• The way to serve God at work is to work with a grateful, joyful, gospel-changed heart through all the ups and downs.
• The way to serve God at work is to do whatever gives you the greatest joy and passion.
• The way to serve God at work is to make as much money as you can, so that you can be as generous as you can."

Happily, he doesn't leave us here. The rest of the book delivers on its promise of helping us sort all this out. For most twenty-first century Americans seeking a Biblical understanding of faith and work, this is the book to start with. Amazon Link.

 

Deep Reading

work_stack.jpg

This page is a home for links and pointers to resources for those wanting to further explore integrating Faith and Work. In this first post, we're dropping a stack of books on the desk. This particular stack is some of what Bryan reviewed in preparation for this series.

Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work
by Tom Nelson | Amazon Link

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work
by Timothy Keller | Amazon Link

Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God
by Courtney Reissig | Amazon Link

Business for the Glory of God: The Bible's Teaching on Moral Goodness of Business
by Wayne Grudem | Amazon Link

Work and Our Labor in the Lord (Short Studies in Biblical Theology)
by James M. Hamilton, Jr. | Amazon Link

The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs 
by Sebastian Traeger and Greg D. Gilbert | Amazon Link

How God Makes the World a Better Place: A Wesleyan Primer on Faith, Work, and Economic Transformation. 
by David Wright | Amazon Link

Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture
by R. Paul Stevens | Amazon Link

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life
by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. | Amazon Link

Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor
by Ben Witherington III | Amazon Link

The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective
by R. Paul Stevens | Amazon Link

Your Work Matters to God
by Doug Sherman and William D. Hendricks | Amazon Link