Artisans of the Common Good

photo from the Getty Images, via the NY Times

photo from the Getty Images, via the NY Times

How Would Jesus Drive? is the title of a recent piece by NY Times columnist David Brooks, based on the New Years Eve homily from Pope Francis. Technically, this isn't about faith and work. (Unless you work as a driver. Or ever drive to do your work. Or drive to get to work. Okay, it probably relates to work for all of us.) But the key points here are in how our faith, the things we believe to be true about the God, about humans, and about how we should live, are evident in everything we do. Most of us drive more often than we preach. And most of us do it without thinking about what our driving preaches.   

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.

 

Dorothy Sayers

[Work] should be looked upon, not as a necessary drudgery to be undergone for the purpose of making money, but as a way of life in which the nature of man should find its proper exercise and delight and so fulfill itself to the glory of God. That it should, in fact, be thought of as a creative activity undertaken for the love of the work itself; and that man, made in God’s image, should make things, as God makes them, for the sake of doing well a thing that is well worth doing.
— Dorothy Sayers, Why Work

The complete essay—entitled Why Work—has been posted on the Made To Flourish site. 

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