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Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work Paperback – July 1, 2014
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"Tim Keller's ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him." —Billy Graham
"This is the book I give to all my friends who are serious spiritual seekers or skeptics." —Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, on The Reason for God
"Theologically rich and philosophically informed, yet accessible and filled with practical wisdom. Drawing on decades of study and ministry, Every Good Endeavor may soon become one of the most important contemporary books on faith and work." —Comment magazine
"Another masterpiece . . . Well-reasoned [and] comprehensive . . . Every Good Endeavor deftly explains how we can relish and enjoy our work while honoring God and serving others, all the while avoiding the extremes of negativity on the one hand and idolatry on the other." —The Gospel Coalition
"Most people sitting in the pews of our churches on a Sunday morning spend more time in the workplace than anywhere else. Yet we can too easily make following Christ a matter of personal devotions and church activity. . . . This is great book on an important area that is too often neglected." —Tim Chester
About the Author
Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. His first pastorate was in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has nearly six thousand regular Sunday attendees and has helped to start more than three hundred new churches around the world. He is the author of The Songs of Jesus, Prayer, Encounters with Jesus, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, and The Meaning of Marriage, among others, including the perennial bestsellers The Reason for God and The Prodigal God.
Katherine Leary Alsdorf worked twenty-five years in the high-tech industry as an economic analyst and in various executive leadership positions. After her CEO roles at One Touch Systems and Pensare, Redeemer Presbyterian Church recruited Katherine to lead the church’s efforts in marketplace ministry, now called the Center for Faith & Work, which has grown to serve more than two thousand people a year. Katherine has served on the boards of the International Arts Movement, the Fellowship for the Performing Arts, and the Theology of Work Project.
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Top Customer Reviews
Level - Easy read, medium length
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.
Keller writes that an objective of the book is to attempt to help illuminate the transformative and revolutionary connection between the Christian faith and the workplace. He encourages believers to think about our work through the lenses of a Christian worldview.
He states that the sixteenth century Protestant Reformers (primarily Luther and Calvin) argued that all work, even so-called secular work was as much a calling from God as the ministry of the monk or priest. Abraham Kuyper stated that work not only cares for creation, but also directs and supports it. The purpose of work in this view is to create a culture that honors God and enables people to thrive.
Keller discusses the concept of dualism, a term used to describe a separating wall between the sacred and the secular. It leads some to think that if their work is to please Christ it must be done overtly in his name.
He structures the book around the following three questions:
• Why do you want to work (why do we need to work in order to lead a fulfilled life?)
• Why is it so hard to work (why is it so fruitless, pointless and difficult?)
• How can we overcome the difficulties and find satisfaction in our work through the gospel?)
Keller tells us that God worked for the sheer joy of it. Work was not a necessary evil – as many people think it is - that came into the picture later. He states that without meaningful work we sense significant inner loss and emptiness. We will not have a meaningful life without work, but we also cannot say that our work is the meaning of our lives. He tells us that if we make work the purpose of our lives – even if it is Christian ministry work – we create an idol that rivals God.
He states that work has dignity because it is something that God does and because we do it in God’s place as his representatives. We were built for work and the dignity it gives us as human beings. He tells us that work is our design and dignity and it is also a way to serve God through creativity, particularly in the creation of culture. We can see work as a way of service to God and our neighbor, so we should conduct our work in accordance with the purpose.
He states that our daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped us to do it, no matter what kind of work it is. To be a Christian in business means more than what we would normally think (being honest, etc.), it means thinking out the implications of the gospel worldview and God’s purposes for our whole work life – and for the organization under our influence.
I highly recommend this theologically sound book for those interesting in integrating their Christian faith and work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The beginning of the book helped me to see that everyone is serving as the hands or...Read more
As is typical of Tim Keller - the writing style is very accessible.Read more