By John Fryling
“Connecting Your Work to God’s Work” is the subtitle of Tim Keller’s book on work, Every Good Endeavor. Many Christians – and for that matter, many churches – see little connection between Christian discipleship and work done outside the church. This big-time disconnect can lead to deep frustration both for church leaders – “Why can’t we get our people to take kingdom work as seriously as they take their secular jobs?” – and for Christians working outside of explicit Christian ministries: “Why do churches show such little interest in the kingdom opportunities and challenges of my vocation?”
Katherine Leary Alsdorf, sister of NL’s own Paul Leary, felt these frustrations keenly in her work at several high-tech entrepreneurial companies. She finally found the connections being thoughtfully made at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, and eventually was called to head up Redeemer’s ministry for people in the workplace. In her forward, Katherine writes, “I’m grateful to Tim Keller for the way he’s applied the gospel to our work over the course of his preaching and leading over the last twenty-five years. And I’m grateful that he’s taken the time to put these foundations into print in this book, so that all of us can dig more deeply into how God is calling us to live faithfully as we work.”
I’ve been reading books on the Christian in the workplace for decades, but Every Good Endeavor has gone right to the top of my list of recommendations for believers who really want to know what it means to serve God at work. It takes a broad view, a deep view, and a long view of the kingdom implications of the world of work, giving many helpful real-life examples.
The broad view scans the Bible’s “rich and multi-dimensional view of work,” which makes it “compelling and helpful in all cultures, social settings, and vocations”. For example, Keller mines fascinating insights from Genesis, Ecclesiastes, and Esther.
The deep view calls on believers to thoughtfully apply what we know about God (theological reflection) and what we know about what pleases him (ethical reflection) to our unique job setting. The examples of what this might look like are particularly fresh and stimulating.
The long view encourages the belief that vocational faithfulness over the long haul is an expression of love to God and neighbor, and can really make a difference in the world and in the church.
Every Good Endeavor makes the powerful case that the gospel really does change everything. Yes, everything – even the world of work!