Ordinary Christian Work

Of the many legacies of the Protestant Reformation, few have had greater and wider-reaching impact than the rediscovery of the biblical understanding of vocation. Before the Reformation, the only people with a vocation or calling were those who were engaged in full-time church work—monks, nuns, or priests. As Gene Veith writes in God at Work: The ordinary occupations of life—being a peasant farmer or kitchen maid, making tools or clothing, being a soldier or even king—were acknowledged as necessary but …

Timeless Cautions For Your Day-to-Day Work

I have so much and give thanks so little. God has blessed me tremendously in all areas of life, and I return thanks to him so sparsely and so half-heartedly. This is my conclusion as I continue reading through John Flavel’s classic work The Mystery of Providence. In chapter 4 Flavel instructs the reader to acknowledge the hand of God in and behind our daily work. Along the way he offers every Christian 4 cautions related to vocation: Do Not …

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The Art of Work

There is a lot to like about Jeff Goins’ new book The Art of Work, and there is a lot to commend in it. For those reasons I really wanted, and even tried, to love it. Unfortunately, though, it cannot overcome a couple of significant, exasperating flaws. Despite the title, The Art of Work is not actually a book about work, but about calling. Goins promises to share a proven, time-tested path that will lead you to the very thing …

The Best Tool for the Job

A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. Kind of. That’s what I said last week when I looked at Proverbs 14:4: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” I said then that there are two broad streams of interpretation for this proverb, and that my preferred one says that it speaks to the messiness of a life well-lived. A productive life is a messy life. …

Work That Makes a Difference

I once had a job I hated. Day after day I sat in a windowless basement office surrounded by hot, noisy computers. Day after day nothing happened. I had no major projects to inspire me, no big goals to work toward, no clear mission to fulfill. It was a bland and boring existence down there, just waiting for something interesting to happen. But nothing ever did, at least until the day came when they laid me off. I hated that …

How Many Hours Can I Work?

A few weeks ago I linked to an article from Nathan Bingham titled Fathers, Stop Stealing From Your Children. Nathan was writing to fathers who are raising families in this busy and distracting world and telling them to give their children the time they need and deserve. He said that many fathers are guilty of stealing from their children: “You’re guilty when you skip breakfast with the family to prepare for that early morning meeting, when you’re distant at the …

Do All Jobs Have the Same Impact Value?

In his answer last week as to whether all jobs have the same intrinsic value, Matt Perman made the distinction between economic value and moral value: Not all jobs have the same economic value because, clearly, some jobs pay more than others. But this doesn’t make some jobs more important than others, because all jobs have the same moral value—that is, we are able to serve God fully and completely in any job (assuming it isn’t unethical by nature). Matt’s …

The Intrinsic Value of What You Do (Yes, You!)

There were some good responses to my Martyn Lloyd-Jones quote about whether Christians in vocational ministry are somehow more religious than those who aren’t. One commenter on the post raised a question that seemed worth pursuing further. He stated, and then asked, We get it—God doesn’t want everyone to be a pastor or a missionary and we all should be Godly. But now what? Can you, as pastors, offer no guidance beyond that? Is there no difference between the intrinsic value …

Protect The Dignity of Labor!

A few years ago there was a strike at a juvenile detention center that is near my house. The institution lies directly between my house and pretty much every place I ever drive to, so I had to go by it just about every time I set out. Every day the strikers would update a little sign to tell the world how many days they had been sitting outside, waiting for someone to meet their demands. That number ticked higher …

Protect The Dignity of Labour!

I have been thinking about writing this for exactly 148 days now. That is how many days the staff at the juvenile detention centre near my house have been on strike. The centre lies directly between my house and everywhere I ever drive, so I go by it just about every day. Every day they update their little sign to tell the world how many days they have been sitting outside, waiting for their demands to be met. My friend …