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The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs Paperback – January 28, 2014
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This book is a great primer on putting our work in the perspective of our lives and God’s kingdom. Written by two ordinary Christian men who have lived the ups and downs of life and work, Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert have given deep thought, purpose, and context to the subject of work. An easy, instructional, and edifying read. -- Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management
“You work for the King, and that changes everything!” That is the basic argument for this much-needed, superbly written work on work. Our job is necessary, and it is also an opportunity to glorify God and advance the gospel. Thank you Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert, for writing a book that is long overdue. -- Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina
The best advice I could give anyone is to read The Gospel at Work. It’s more than a book about finding purpose and meaning in our jobs; it’s a book about how to have success in life. Sebastian and Greg have done a masterful job of providing practical guidance on a question we’ve all asked at one time or another: “What is the point of work in a Christian’s life?” If you want to be successful in life and really enjoy the work you do, embrace the principles found here. This book is filled with countless gems of wisdom! -- Gloria S. Nelund, chairman and CEO of Trilinc Global
The ideas in this book are not a theory for the authors but the reality in which they live. One writes as a businessman, the other as a pastor. Both wrestle faithfully with what the Bible teaches about our work, showing us the exciting possibilities when we see our world through God’s eyes. -- J. D. Greear, Ph.D., pastor of the Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, North Caroline, and author of Stop Asking Jesus into Yo
Imagine sitting down with someone for a deeply wise, biblically faithful, and intensely practical conversation about your workplace and work. You’ll find that here. Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert combine real-world practicality and theological fidelity in this immensely pastoral book. After finishing it, I looked up and said to my wife, “Every Christian should read this book.” -- Jonathan Leeman, editorial director of 9Marks and author of The Church and the Surprising Offense of God's Love
Everyone knows that work is both necessary and hard. But what about its meaning? Some think of work as merely a distraction from ministry; others, as a necessary evil to provide for higher ends; others still, a place where ultimate purpose and identity can be found. In this book you will find two careful and experienced guides---brothers whose wisdom and teaching I deeply respect---who know not only the right questions to ask but also where to find the life-giving answers. -- Justin Taylor, managing editor of The ESV Study Bible and coauthor of The Final Days of Jesus
The Gospel at Work is a book by practitioners for practitioners. The combined business and pastoral perspectives of the authors make this a real “how to” narrative. Clearly defining our purposes for working while answering many of our key questions about our careers, Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert point us to a freedom that can only be provided by Christ. -- Lou Giuliano, former chairman, CEO, and president of ITT Industries and cofounder of Workforce Ministries
I read every word of this book and loved it. I want to make this a basic staple in my discipling and get lots of copies. This provocative and practical book asks and answers the right questions in the right way. It will even help you know how to better pray---privately and publicly. Two of my favorite people have now produced one of my favorite books. -- Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC, and president of 9Marks
The Gospel at Work is a field guide for anyone who wants to seriously consider how to give glory to God through his or her job. Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert answer a series of questions about how faith and work intersect with sound biblical answers. You’ll be more equipped to live out the gospel in your career after reading this book. -- Dr. O. S. Hawkins, president and CEO of Guidestone Financial Resources
Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert understand that one way we reflect our Creator is by being creative right where we are with the talents he has given us. In doing so, we fulfill our God-given privilege to beautify our various stations for his glory---giving this world an imperfect preview of the beautification that will one day be a universal actuality when Jesus returns to finish what he started. Read this book. It will make you think and set you free. -- Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of One-Way Love
About the Author
Sebastian Traeger has spent years starting and building various businesses. He has co-founded FiveStreet.com, a real estate technology company; Razoo.com, a crowd-funding site for causes; Christianity.com, a software and services company for Christian organizations; and Silas Partners, a web-consulting firm. He also helped start Village Phone, a telecommunications company in El Salvador and worked as a management consultant at Dean and Company. He graduated in 1996 with a B.A. in Politics from Princeton University where he also played on the Baseball team and managed a few on-campus businesses. Sebastian serves as an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C and is on the Board of Guidestone Financial Resources of the SBC. He and his wife, Nikki, have three children and love living just 6 blocks from the US Capitol.
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What I really liked about this book was the organizational scheme. The authors identify 2 basic, opposing errors in the way that people think about work (or approach their work lives): people tend to either be idle in their work, or the make an idol out of their work. In other words, they make too little of work, and ignore our God-given mandate to serve God in everything we do, or they make too much of work, and try to achieve ultimate fulfillment and identity in their work. Instead, we can have great freedom in knowing that when we serve our bosses/employers/customers/employees, we are really working "as unto the Lord," for "it is the Lord Christ whom you serve." They flesh this out in many different ways, but this framework of avoiding these 2 opposing errors is very fruitfully used to explore a variety of questions Christians might have relating to work. I found this approach to be very valuable, as it helps to ingrain the central points of the book in your thinking as you progress.
For me at this time, going through a period of unemployment, this book has helped me to reorient my thinking as I pursue my next job. I will try to resist the temptation to neglect the important task of work, as well as making too much of it. Whatever my next job, however grand or humble, however satisfying or frustrating, it is ultimately Christ who I serve. The meaning I derive from my job comes from using the gifts he has given me to faithfully serve Him, and serve others in the process.
While it was not the deepest or best book I have read on the subject, it did help reinforce what God has been showing me and renewed a desire to see my work as a calling. Don't get me wrong, this is a good book and is worth the money, but it seemed to be more surface level compared to some I have read. If you have not read anything on this topic, then this is definitely a great place to start.
Ultimately the book can be condensed to two warnings and an encouragement or solution.
The two warnings are to neither make work your idol nor to be idle at work. If work is your idol, then you hang everything on the "success" of your job. But that can be hard to define. What truly makes one successful? More money? More prestige? Climbing the corporate ladder, as the saying goes? If we make too much out of work, then it becomes an idol, basically taking the place of Jesus Christ in our lives as our Master.
On the other hand, we can grow idle at work. This is a very real danger when we tend to see our work as unimportant to God and others. If our work does not matter, then we tend to waste time, not work as hard, and have a more negative view of our job and coworkers. This does not put us in a position to be good witnesses of saving faith in Christ.
The solution to these two potential dangers is to see ourselves as servants/slaves to God our Savior. When we work, we are ultimately working for Him. We are where we are because God has put us there at this point in our lives to live for Him. We work hard not to get something out of it (although God does reward hard service), but we work hard because we are working to pleas God. Whatever we do is done for His glory. When we take this attitude, we see our work as service to our King, so we will not make work our idol and neither will we be idle at work.
All of the chapters of this book are basically an exposition of these points, and the authors do a good job of explaining them clearly and convincingly and applying them to different scenarios (choosing a job, difficult people, balancing work with family and church, etc.)
If you are in the position I was, struggling to understand how your work glorifies God, this is a good book to read. I believe you will come away refreshed and with a new understanding of a biblical way to view your vocation.