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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Informative, Accessible and Encouraging Book on Integrating Faith and Work
While others have written more scholarly defenses of the theology of vocation, Every Good Endeavor is the most accessible and helpful book I've ever read on integrating a Christian perspective with our daily work----whether that work be "blue-collar" or "white-collar," physical or mental, menial or high-profile. Moreover, Keller simultaneously (and winsomely) speaks to...
Published 19 months ago by Alex

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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Apology, admonition, or both?
Rule #1 on Keller books: Always read the footnotes. I have never been disappointed and in this book, it is the only consistently good section.
That being said:
I pre-ordered the book last year (2012) and onIy finished in March 2013. It was a difficult slog, not because of content but because of its inconsistent style. On p. 144 of the hardcover edition,...
Published 15 months ago by Not A Picky Person


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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Informative, Accessible and Encouraging Book on Integrating Faith and Work, November 19, 2012
By 
Alex "Alex & Marni Chediak" (RIVERSIDE, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
While others have written more scholarly defenses of the theology of vocation, Every Good Endeavor is the most accessible and helpful book I've ever read on integrating a Christian perspective with our daily work----whether that work be "blue-collar" or "white-collar," physical or mental, menial or high-profile. Moreover, Keller simultaneously (and winsomely) speaks to non-Christians who are trying to make sense of the frustrations and pleasures of their work lives.

Keller begins with God's plan for our work: The idea that work preceded the Fall, that work gives dignity to humankind, and that work allows us to cultivate the created order such that others are served. Keller also relates our vocation to the gospel doctrine of justification by faith alone:

"First, if religious works were crucial to achieving a good standing with God, then there would always be a fundamental difference between those in church ministry and everyone else. But if religious work did absolutely nothing to earn favor with God, it could no longer be seen as superior to other forms of labor.

The gospel of salvation through sheer grace holds a second implication for work....many modern people seek a kind of salvation--self-esteem and self-worth--from career success. This leads us to seek only high-paying, high-status jobs, and to 'worship' them in perverse ways. But the gospel frees us from the relentless pressure of having to prove ourselves and secure our identity through work, for we are already proven and secure."

The second section of the book unpacks the many frustrations of work that the Fall made inevitable. As Christians, however, we can know that while our work in this world will always fall short, "our work in this life is not the final world." We labor in the certain hope of redemption, and of a new heavens and new earth. Keller goes on to address how to biblically steward the responsibility, authority, and power that might come from a job well done (or from being, providentially, well-connected to others in power). Finally, Keller deals with how our work lives reveal our most deeply held and pervasive idols. Different cultures have different idols. Keller gives of the main idols of three dominant cultures of Western history: traditional, modern, and postmodern.

Part three is about the gospel and work. Put simply, the Christian worldview helps us make sense of our work. Keller flushes out how the gospel relates to business, journalism, higher education, the arts, and medicine. This section also includes an excellent treatment of the doctrine of common grace. Everyone, including non-Christians, ultimately does God's work in the sense that they utilize their God-given talents. And everyone has some knowledge of God's truth; even if they suppress it in unrighteousness, it inevitably bubbles up. Some non-Christians are highly moral. Keller writes:

"Properly understood, the doctrine of sin means that believers are never as good as our true worldview should make us. Similarly, the doctrine of grace means that unbelievers are never as messed up as their false worldview should make them."

The gospel gives Christians a "new compass" for work: we work unto the Lord, but for the good of others. This empowers us to be change-agents in our spheres, for the sake of others. We'll have a winsome, peaceful attitude as we go about our work because we no longer "need" the work to give us meaning and worth (we got those from God). Unpacking Matt. 11:28-30, where Jesus tells us to take his yoke upon us so that we can find rest for our souls, Keller explains:

"The yoke or harness put on a beast of burden was a symbol of slavery and grinding toil. How could this be a solution to the problem of deep weariness? Jesus says that it is his yoke and burden--and it is the only one that is light. Why? "For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (verse 29). He is the only boss who will not drive you into the ground, the only audience that does not need your performance in order to be satisfied with you. Why is this? Because his work for you is finished."

All in all, Every Good Endeavor is an excellent read for anyone seeking a better understanding of how their faith can be, and should be, integrated with their work.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for helping Christians integrate work and faith, November 13, 2012
By 
John Gibbs (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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The Christian Scriptures give us hope for work, but work can be deeply frustrating and difficult, so the spiritual hope must be profound if we are going to face the challenge of pursuing vocation in this world, according to Timothy Keller in this book. Everyone has the experience of imagining accomplishing things but being incapable of producing them. Without God, all our best endeavours ultimately come to naught, but with God our work can be part of bringing about the future healed world.

The book goes on to consider a number of aspects of work and the relationship between work and faith, including the importance of work as an indispensable component in a meaningful human life; the dignity that work gives to us as human beings, regardless of its status or pay; work as a way of cultivating creation; work as an act of worship to the God who called and equipped you to do it; problems with fruitless, pointless and selfish work; the relationship between work and idolatry; and the ways in which the Gospel changes the nature of work.

I was particularly interested in the Epilogue, which describes what the author's church, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, does to help its people integrate faith and work. The church has five primary ministry areas: worship and evangelism, community formation, mercy and justice, church planting, and faith and work. Redeemer's Center for Faith and Work runs an intensive theological and leadership development program for young professionals, an entrepreneurship initiative, vocation groups, retreats and classes, literary publications, art exhibits and performances, and a range of lectures and conferences.

Most Christians who find themselves in employment other than full-time church ministry face questions about how to live out their faith in the context of work, and most churches do not know how to help their people address these questions. I found this book to be a very helpful resource. I highly recommend it because it provides a range of useful ideas that churches can use to lead their people into more effective Christian engagement in the workplace.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good handling of the Theology of work, November 21, 2012
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This review is from: Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work (Kindle Edition)
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.

I believe everyone will benefit from this book.

Enjoy!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource, February 12, 2013
Point: God created work, but in a fallen world man is liberated to satisfaction in work only through the gospel.

Path: Divided into three parts, Keller walks through God's plan for Work, Our problems with work, and The Gospel and Work. The book closes with an Epilogue discussing Leading People to Integrate Faith and Work.
The foundation of the book is Genesis 1-3. Creation, the Fall, and the Promise combine to help explain why there is work, why it could be good, why it is not toil, and to whom we can look to make it right.

Sources: Keller regularly references OT scholars such at Waltke, Kidner, etc. Calvin and Luther are sight-setters during the Reformation. As always, C. S. Lewis makes several appearances with thought provoking statements.
Keller weaves personal illustrations, examples from those at RPC, and other stories into his work.

Agreement: This has been the best work on work I have read. I appreciated its approach at undermining our misconceptions and building a biblical foundation. Keller does a great job at connecting the Gospel to my work, challenging me to see myself and my work in the light of God's redeeming work in Jesus Christ.

Improvement:
I think a detailed table of contents would have greatly helped my first reading through the book. Main points are in bold throughout, but it would have been helpful to keep my place. I typed out most of the main points if this is your first time reading through and if this would help. See below.
The content was great, I am just not sure whether everyone will stick with it to the end. Maybe parring it down a little would help, but I am not sure what the authors would be willing to leave out.

Personal App: Am I viewing work as a way to get what I want, or as a way to participate in what God wants?

Favorite Quote: "Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God's calling, can matter forever. That is what the Christian faith promises" (29).

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.

If this review was helpful, let me know here.

God's plan for Work
1. The design of work
In the Beginning, there was work
The Forms of God's Work
The Goodness of our work
The Freedom of our Work
The limits of all work
2. The Dignity of work
Work as a demeaning necessity
Work as a mark of human dignity
The Material world matters
3. Work as Cultivation
Filling and Subduing the Earth
Culture Making with God
All Work is Culture Making
4. Work as service
Called and Assigned
Vocation and the "Masks of God"
Vocation and the Gospel
Work as an Act of Love
Work as a Ministry of Competence

Our problems with work
5. Work becomes fruitless
Paradise lost
Things Fall Apart
Thorns and Thistles
Accepting Fruitlessness
Deep Consolation
6. Work becomes pointless
Under the Sun
The Meaningless of Work
The Alienation of Work
The Danger of Choice
A Handful of Quietness
7. Work becomes selfish
Making a name for ourselves
The Power of Being "in the Palace"
The Peril of Being "in the Palace"
Living with Greatness in the palace
8. Work reveals our idols
The Pervasiveness and Power of Idols
Culture and Corporate Idols
Idols of Traditional Cultures
Idols of Modern Cultures
Idols of Postmodern Cultures
Finding Hope for Our Work

The Gospel and Work
9. A New story for work
Making Sense of the World
Stories and Worldviews
The Gospel and Other Worldviews
The Gospel and Business
The Gospel and Journalism
The Gospel and Higher Education
The Gospel and the Arts
The Gospel and Medicine
The Christian Worldview shapes All Work
10. A new conception of Work
Everyone Participates in God's Work
The Balance of Common Grace
The Freedom of Common Grace
The Dialogue of Popular Culture
Dualism vs. Integration
11. A new Compass for Work
The Limitations of Ethics
A Different Set of Virtues
A Different View of Humanity
A Different Source of Guidance
A Different Audience
The Orientation of a New Compass
Christian Ethics in Your Vocation
12.New Power for Work
The Work Under the Work
The Power of True Passion
The Power of Deep Rest
The Rest Under the Rest

Epilogue: Leading People to Integrate Faith and Work
Read Os Guiness's The Call
Al Wolter's Creation Regained
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Apology, admonition, or both?, March 25, 2013
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Rule #1 on Keller books: Always read the footnotes. I have never been disappointed and in this book, it is the only consistently good section.
That being said:
I pre-ordered the book last year (2012) and onIy finished in March 2013. It was a difficult slog, not because of content but because of its inconsistent style. On p. 144 of the hardcover edition, Nietzsche is introduced and what follows is a spritely discussion. But at p. 157, I read "Everyone knows that things in this world are seriously out of whack." These stylistic turns go on throughout out the book and are maddeningly distracting. Certainly, there were nuggets scattered about, but finding them was not easy. I write in the margins of my books, but this book has the fewest of any of my recent reads.

Most disturbing, I sometimes felt I was reading an apology for the wealthy for their avarice. Other times, an injunction to Christians that have bought into the entitlement mindset of today. By its end, I was just relieved it ended.

Keller is an outstanding author and I will buy his next book, if it is not co-authored. The differences in style, breath of experience, and technique between the co-authors did not work in this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent look at how faith and work intersect, January 24, 2013
By 
This review is from: Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work (Kindle Edition)
The routine is the same: get up, get ready and get to work. Our commute is a fog. Sometimes our day is, too. And many of us find ourselves wondering, "Is there really a point to all this?"

It seems like work is, at best, a necessary evil. But is that how we should view work? More importantly, is that how God views work?

Tim Keller wants you to see that your work really does matter--and more than that, it's a fundamental way in which we worship our Creator. Our problem is, we lack a theological foundation to understand how. Providing that is the purpose behind his recently released effort, Every Good Endeavor, where Keller examines God's original plans for work, how sin distorts it and how the gospel restores and redeems it.

Keller's greatest pastoral strength is applying doctrine to everyday life--showing the practical nature of the Christian faith. This book is no exception. Each chapter is rich with implications for the reader in how he or she approaches work.

Among the most helpful aspects of chapter one is Keller's reminder that the Hebrew word used to describe God at work, "mlkh," is the very same word used to describe normal human work. This reminds us that:

"Work was not a necessary evil that came into the picture later, or something human beings were created to do but that was beneath the great God himself. No, God worked for the sheer joy of it. Work could not have a more exalted inauguration." (34-35)

This is an important reminder for us today. With so many books on the market offering new ways to look at work--particularly those focused on "results only"--it's easy to get caught in the trap that work isn't as important as the rest of your life. It's the thing you do to do the rest of your life, but it's a means to an end only. But God values it because He does it. He created it and it is fundamentally good.

More importantly, while there are certainly some kinds of work that are morally wrong, there isn't really a type of work work that is of lesser value than another. Keller writes, "The Greeks understood that life in the world required work, but they believed that not all work was created equal. Work that used the mind rather than the body was nobler, less beastly. The highest form of work was the most cognitive and the least manual" (46).

This is essential for us to understand, particularly as we see the rise of a new underclass--extremely well educated young people who have no real career prospects. Our education system and culture has for so long pushed the Greek ideal Keller describes that many are left on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars of debt and only a Barista job to pay for it. All because we placed more value on teaching jobs than plumbing.

"Work has dignity because it is something that God does and because we do it in God's place, as his representatives. We learn not only that work has dignity in itself, but also that all kinds of work have dignity. . . . No task is too small a vessel to hold the immense dignity of work given by God." (49)

This is also essential for us to understand in the Church because it reminds us there isn't a higher value on "sacred" work (vocational church, parachurch ministry) than on "secular" work (for-profit organizations, manufacturing, and everything in between). Being a pastor isn't better than being a plumber. Both can equally glorify God, and the sooner we get that through our heads, the sooner we may find we're sending fewer young people to be trained for something that doesn't bring them joy--and as a result, a healthier clergy and church culture may emerge.

But even in recognizing the dignity and value of work, we cannot neglect that sin has still tainted it. Work is harder than it was ever intended to be. It is plagued by "thorns and thistles" (literally and figuratively). Things fall apart. Colleagues flake out and fail us. Our work becomes fruitless toiling under the sun.

Worse, work too easily becomes our means of salvation apart from Christ--we derive our identity from it, and when we lose it, we are devastated. We put our value as people in what we do. This is where the gospel restores and redeems our view of work, something Keller spends the bulk of the book unpacking.

The gospel gives us a new worldview and conception of work, a new moral compass and a new power, all of which we miss without the finished work of Christ:

"When the extent and depth of Jesus' passion for you fully dawns on your heart, it will generate passion for the work he has called you uniquely to do in the world. When you realize what he has done to rescue you, your pride and envy begin to disappear because you don't need to get your self-worth from being richer, cooler, more powerful or more comfortable. Instead of working out of the false passion of acedia, which is born of selfishness, you are working out of true passion, which is born of selflessness. You are adopted into God's family, so you already have your affirmation. You are justified in God's sight, so you have nothing to prove. You have been saved through a dying sacrifice, so you are free to be a living one. You are loved ceaselessly, so you can work tirelessly in response to a quiet inner fullness." (233)

This understanding is so important because it really does change everything. If we see our affirmation as coming from God, not from others, how does it impact the way we related to our colleagues and supervisors? We can drop the unhealthy competition and one upmanship games we play and celebrate each other's accomplishments more fully. This is is such good news for us, and so desperately needed by many.

Where most books on this subject wind up swinging wildly in one of two directions--work is either a necessary evil or work is our god--Every Good Endeavor reminds us that while we "will not have a meaningful life without work, [we] cannot say that [our] work is the meaning of [our] life" (40). Our work--whether "secular" or "sacred"--is a chief means by which we glorify God. I trust reading this very fine book will remind you that this is good news indeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read, December 5, 2012
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This review is from: Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work (Kindle Edition)
I just finished the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's challenged me to view my job as a service to mankind rather than an empty road to self-image. I'm a big fan of Timothy Keller and feel all his books contain a wisdom distilled by decades of intellectual challenge and a commitment to love others. Read this book, and then read all his others as well, especially if you enjoy clear writing about issues that matter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living your faith in your calling, January 1, 2013
Tim Keller's new book "Every Good Endeavor" answers a very basic, though generally ignored, question: how can I live out my faith in my work? How is our theology practiced when we're not in church or leading a Bible study? Indeed, we live most of our lives doing work of some kind and usually without a clear idea of how our faith ought to affect our vocation.

Keller, and his co-author Katherine Alsdorf - a former tech CEO, have written an accessible, Gospel-saturated book that must be read by all. Whatever your vocation, this book clearly articulates God's plan for work, the affects of sin on our work, and how the Gospel shapes our response to our work. From a careful exposition of Scripture to an illuminating explanation of worldviews, "Every Good Endeavor" presents a practical way to glorify God in what he has called us to do.

God works and he created us to reflect his image through work. While the entrance of sin often renders work fruitless and empty, God provides for others through our callings. And he is glorified as every part of our lives is more and more transformed by the Gospel. Through the power of the Spirit, everything we do can be a good endeavor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another homerun by Keller, December 6, 2012
By 
Jon Hedger (St. Paul, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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Keller's latest is destined to be another best-seller as he, once again, connects with the reader in his unique and clear way of communicating.

As a reader of his previous books, I can't recommend this book highly enough for those of us who struggle with our true purpose and meaning of the "daily grind" and seemingly meaningless tasks. Keller offers, and delivers, a fresh perspective on work that is sure to encourage, motivate, and define how life here on Earth is connected to our true purpose and selves.

As with any other Keller book, this is not a book one cruises through despite the clarity of his writing. Rather, his clarity is something to ponder, absorb, process, and make one's own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sound Theology, Practical Instruction, December 3, 2012
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As someone who has worked as a pastor, a barista, a bus driver, a lawn service professional, a retail specialist, and a writer, this book is immensely practical, possesses theological depth, and is a delight to read. The threefold structure, tracing "God's Plan for Work", "Our Problems with Work", and "The Gospel and Work" is elegant and accessible, and gives instruction concerning work's original intent, the impact of sin upon our work, and the redemption that is offered in Christ. Tim Keller, in both his speaking and writing ministry, is a true gift to the Christian world.

While a lengthy review could easily be written, these brief words will suffice: you will seldom find a book that in its simplicity and clarity provides Christians with a helpful framework for understanding and undertaking work, to the glory of God.
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