The sacred-secular divide is one of the most serious barriers to business as mission engagement. It is the reason, given again and again, that business people do not feel affirmed in their call to business and do not realise the good their business could do.
Here are two books to help you, and the business people in your life, break down the sacred-secular divide.
Every Good Endeavour by Tim Keller
A Review by Dr. Steve Rundle
I’ve been doing lots of reading lately on the Theology of Work, and I’m discovering that most of the books cover pretty much the same ground. (That’s a polite way of saying they’re often boring.) So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Tim Keller’s new book Every Good Endeavor. Yes, he covers some of the same territory as others – the intrinsic goodness of work, the Creation Mandate, the Doctrine of Vocation, etc. – especially in the first few chapters. But what made this book refreshingly original for me were his discussions about the impact of the Fall on our work, and about Common Grace. Obviously these aren’t new topics either, but he has a way of encouraging the reader even as he reminds them that (1) there is a certain inescapable futility and self-centeredness to our work, and (2) we should rejoice in the fact that God uses both Christians and non-Christians to fulfill his purposes. (Translation: Christians don’t have a monopoly on making contributions to the common good.) For those who want to read only one book about the Theology of Work, this one would be an excellent choice. It’s an easy read with lots of substance.
Work Matters by Tom Nelson
A Review by Steve Bishop
There is a tendency for Christianity in some circles to be a leisure activity. We are encouraged to pray, evangelise, worship, study our Bibles in our spare ime. Sadly, the 40 hours per week, for forty or so years don’t seem to matter – or at least if you looked at the content of most Sunday sermons from the pulpit. Work Matters, however, provides a refreshing look at whole life Christianity. It’s key message is that work does matter. Nelson uses many everyday experiences – including discussions in coffee shops and vignettes from those who have considered how Christianity impacts their work life. At the end of each chapter is a short prayer and then several questions for reflection and discussion which makes this book ideal for church small groups. The final chapter ‘The church at work’ is particularly good. Here he draws on Lesslie Newbigin’s notion that ‘the congregation has to be the place where its members are trained, supported, and nourished… [for] priestly ministry in the world’. He offers excellent ideas how this can be developed. Many churches employ youth ministers – maybe one day we’ll also see work and vocation ministers too. That will certainly need a paradigm shift. Nelson’s eminently readable and accessible book may well help towards that.
Steve Rundle’s review was first published on The Crowell School of Business, Biola University Blog.
Steve Bishop’s review was first published on An Accidental Blog, by Steve Bishop.
Reviews adapted and reposted with kind permission.