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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
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.
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 1, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1594632820
- ISBN-13 : 978-1594632822
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.15 x 0.89 x 7.92 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
1. God's plan for work
2. Our problems w work
3. The gospel and work
Section 2 really helped get me out of a terrible rut in my attitude towards work. I've held 4 separate professional jobs and the common thread hasn't been the work content but my demeanor towards it. Candidly I can say there have been days work has been enjoyable again and I attribute that towards God wooing my heart through the reason of Keller (which is really so often scripture applied rightly).
Keller cites more sources in his books than any author I read, and I appreciate the breadth of insight that comes with it. Amazingly it never comes off stoic, just smart and reasonable.
The 3rd and final section contained many encouragements from business leaders and friends that Keller's engaged with and helped form some vision for how the gospel frees me up to live radically for Christ in how, where and why I work. Putting all 3 sections together has really obliterated a lie I'd been believing that if I spent the next few decades in "this industry" I'd be bored to tears. Man, any work done for the glory of God can be Holy ground as far as I'm concerned. How much more worshipful is it when I care not at all for the arena I work in, but the master workman I get to learn from and lead others to in the process.
I have always been taught that hard work is good. The harder the work, the more valuable the work. When I went to college, I had a couple of jobs on campus. Most were unexciting; usually mindless, insignificant tasks that helped the school function. This is what I assumed work would always be like, dull and boring.
However, I did have one job on campus that I loved. I got to work alongside college students and help them thrive in their college experience. The moment I found out I could have a career in college student development was life-defining day. I never knew work could be meaningful, engaging, and even fun.
Work is part of God’s story. Our first story of God – the creation account – is a story of God working and loving His work. “Christians should places a high value on all human work (especially excellent work), done by all people, as a channel of God’s love for his world.”
As you can attain from the title, Every Good Endeavor is about the theology of work. Keller has definitely done his research. He frequently cites and references works by great theologians and Christian thinkers.
The book has a very simple message but it did drag on too long, but it is good nonetheless.
Top reviews from other countries
Tim Keller is a highly respected Christian minister; but this book should be read by anyone who is torn between devoting their life in service to God and humanity, and using their skills and talents in the marketplace, or to make a real difference in lifting the human condition.
Keller argues that there is no conflict, and guides the reader with soundly structured arguments and clear examples from the lives of people he's work with (and biblical references) as he explains that God expects us to serve him and humanity through our work, by living out values that lift the standards of excellence of product and service delivery in a way that strengthens families, communities and nations.