This book is a must read for every Christian!  Of course, I would probably say that about any Tim Keller book, one of my favorite authors and preachers.

I’ve been looking for a number of years for a good book about work.  In just the very traditional sense of work (e.g. my job), I spend one-third of my waking hours at work each week.  In the broader sense of work, including laundry, home maintenance, serving on various capacities at church, I spend well over half of my waking hours at work, if not more.  So, certainly God must have something to say about the way I carry out my work.  And beyond the ethics of work, He must have something to say about the meaning of work.

Keller does not fall short in addressing the issue of work.  He addresses work in its ideal state, how God intended in Creation.  He addresses work in his not so ideal state, what work has become in light of the Fall.  And in true Keller-fashion, he addresses how the gospel impacts our work, the way that God is redeeming work from the effects of the Fall.

The genius of Keller is that he pushes beyond merely being ethical at work to how work fits into the entire paradigm of Creation, Fall and Redemption.  How we think about work, what we treasure in our heart about work, what frustrates us about work matters as well.  To approach work with a truly Christian worldview is not just about being ethical and is not just about sharing the gospel at work. 

From a Creation perspective, work is part of what reflects the image of God within us.  Keller points out that it is only man and woman who were given a job to do in the original Creation account, a reflection of their unique God image-bearing.  For this reason, work matters, work has meaning and work is a source of human dignity.

From a Fall perspective, work is frustrated.  While in the ideal, work has meaning and purpose, it can feel purposeless and be fruitless.  Moreover, as fallen humans, work can become an idol, replacing God as the ultimate source of meaning and purpose in our lives.

From a Redemption perspective, our work is given a new story, a redeemed story.  With the power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through us, we can re-engage in the original purpose and value of work.  With a Christian worldview in mind, we can navigate the minefield of ethical grey areas, embracing the good that exists in our workplace and standing up to the evil.

I highly recommend this book for sharpening the mind and the spirit around the issue of work.

If I had one criticism of this book, it would be that Keller’s examples clearly reveal the intellectual and solidly middle-upper class circles he moves within.  For example, he gives examples of how the gospel can renew fields such as business, journalism and the arts.  However, there are limited examples relating to the world of those who live in the more lower-middle class worlds of retail, fast food and trade work.  Nonetheless, the principles translate, but some examples in these fields would have made the book more accessible to these audiences.

 


Comments

I have been looking for some Christian books to read. Good thing I have read your article about this book. Is this really good? I bet it is because you will not share this if it is not. I am really excited to read this. I am glad you have shared this review to us and I want to thank you for this.

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