Tim Keller on how faith matters to our work


every-good-endeavor-picRedeemer Presbyterian NYC’s famous pastor, Tim Keller, has blogged a reflection on his new co-authored volume (with Redeemer Pres’s Faith and Work Center’s founder and former Silicon Valley executive Katherine Leary Alsdorf), Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work. People have been glancing at the book’s subtitle, says Keller, and asking: “OK, so, in a nutshell, how does God’s work connect to our work?” He answers in four pithy points, which I summarize as a list here. To see what Keller does with each point, check out the full post here.

Here are Keller’s four ways God connects with our work:

1. The Christian faith gives us a moral compass, an inner GPS giving us ethical guidance that takes us beyond merely the legal aspects or requirements in any situation.

2. Your Christian faith gives you a new spiritual power, an inner gyroscope, that keeps you from being overthrown by either success, failure, or boredom.

3. The Christian faith gives us a new conception of work as the means by which God loves and cares for his world through us. Three implications here: 1. All work, even the most menial tasks, has great dignity. 2. One of the main ways to please God in our work is simply to do work well. 3. Christians can and must have deep appreciation for the work of those who work skillfully but do not share our beliefs.

4. The Christian faith gives us a new world-and-life view that shapes the character of our work. All well-done work that serves the good of human beings pleases God. So we must ask, What is the purpose of human life? What is life about? What does a good human life look like?  It is unavoidable that many jobs will be shaped by our conscious or semi-conscious beliefs about those issues.

Keller concludes in ringing Reformation cadences:

Putting all of these four aspects together, we see that being a Christian leads us to see our work not as merely a way to earn money, nor as primarily a means of personal advancement, but a truly a calling—to serve God and love our neighbor.

I haven’t read the book yet, but as of today, Dec 10, 2012, Keller’s name recognition has helped make it the 402nd biggest-selling book on Amazon.com. That kind of distribution alone makes this a must-read for those of us engaged in the faith-work conversation.

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