This is another book that is hard to summarize with just repeating the title or copy/pasting the table of contents. I guess the title isn't super clear, it comes from a quote that he opens the book with. Basically asking, 'God give us strength in every good endeavor', so, to prosper and do well and any work or vocation we choose.
The book is broken into three main parts - God's plan for work, our problems with work, and the Gospel and work. An interesting point in God's plan is that work is not punishment. We often think we are required to work due to fall, but the punishment is only that it will be hard, not that we will have to do it. The problems section runs down the typical issues people have, be unmotivated and not 'work as if for the Lord', or being motivated by the wrong then (money, prestige, etc.), or making work and idol.
The final section is the strength of the book. Not only are there some practical how-to-ness in there, but it is extremely encouraging. This may be most important for anything who does not like their job. You will be lifted up and maybe even be a little pumped while reading this last part. I know it changed my thinking. It caused/challenged me to look at things differently and to find different ways of approaching my job and it's issues. Most of all, I was left with a feeling of hope, in that, if doing it for God, it cannot be pointless.
Keller is obviously a great writer, as evidence see his seven thousand books, most of which are best sellers. The whole book is well written and reads quickly. Most important, it is theologically sound and Biblically based. The books only weakness (one it shares with almost all of these types of books) is that it is written for white collar professionals. It assumes education, mobility, and choice in careers. There is a passing reference to blue collar work, but I found it lacking.
The reminder that the curse isn't the work is an important perspective shift for most people. If you are like me, you remember that the punishments are hard work of the land and pain in child birth. However, we were already called to work and exercise dominion. The reason we don't like work, isn't that it is a punishment, it is that it isn't what it is supposed to be, and of course, it's hard.
I want to spend a little time reiterating some points for the third section. He does acknowledge that you may not like your job, you may even be stuck there, and in that, he goes on to point out what you can do for the Kingdom while there. Obviously, you can share the gospel. There are other things, though, that I thought were interesting. For one, he discusses just being a good boss. Making your place of employment a great place to work and that treats people right, and even more so, being an ethical place. That probably affected me the most as I am stuck in a place that often appears I will never leave. So, what can I do? If you feel this way, this is a good book for you.
I think just about anyone interested in a book regarding the Christian life and work should pick this up. Especially if you are in a white collar field, put it on your list. If not, it is still probably the best book on work out there, but there is just less for you. That really the only knock I have on the book and the only reason I didn't rate it higher.
What an excellent book! This is a great book for any Christian who has questions about why they should go to work every day. The book highlights are many! I gave this book 5/5 stars. I liked how easy this was to read and how much helpful information it contained. I thought the author's reasons for why we should work and why we should do it for the Lord were well thought out. I liked how he showed that working gives us purpose and we are all here for the Lords purpose so should look to him for guidance about what job we should be doing. Knowing that the job you are doing, whether a missionary or business owner, is what the Lord has called you to do can be a real comfort and motivator. I would recommend this book to all Christians who do not work in the ministry!
I would like to thank the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
In this book Tim Keller provides a response to the times we live in and how we as christians should relate to work in these times. The book is very thorough and intelligent, and really insightful for christian struggling with his/her role in the current individualistic and performance-driven society. Recommended!
Tim Keller has given us another excellent resource. In my 40 years of ministry I have done lots of things, one of those was operate the Job Training Program for an inner city ministry. We had a ten week Theology of Work (written by Dr. Keith Phillips) course that we took our young people through and then helped them to find good employment opportunities.
Until now I have not found a book on the Theology of work that I felt did an adequate job with the subject. Keller's book handles it well, documents the Biblical principles and gives a good practical application for all that he is discussing.
Do you feel as though you have a "job" or a "calling"? That is one of the questions asked by Keller. Most of the time people think of a "calling" as being something a Pastor / missionary / professional Christian worker has from God. But Keller does a great job of reminding us that God put work in place as something for all of us, and it is a "GOOD" thing. Thus we are all "called" by God to do our work in a way that pleases Him and brings honor and glory to His name.
God gives each of us talent and intellect. He gives each of us a "calling" to the work that we do. As such we need to be asking other questions such as, how can I bring honor and glory to God through my daily work? How can I share God with others through my daily work? How will my attitude at work actually be a positive witness to others about my walk with God.
Keller's book is wonderful. It would be a great book for small groups to read together and then discuss. I would recommend that it would even be a great book for you to read, place on your desk at work and see if it will generate discussions with co-workers about your belief that God gave us work as a "good" think not as a punishment.