Monday, December 23, 2013

Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller


I'd wanted to purchase this book a year ago, but told myself that I'd too many books to read (and I still do). However, the very day before I bought it, my pastor had preached about working in the marketplace and coupled with the fact that I felt like work was rather pointless at that point in time, I thought I'd encourage myself with this book. So it was off to Kinokuniya that Monday morning. 

I was blown away by the book and it helped me so much that I'm reading it a second time through to make sure I didn't miss out anything. 

It was really a word in season. There was even a chapter titled, "Work becomes pointless". Imagine that. 

Well, Keller begins with an introduction on the purpose of work. He points out rightly that God had created man to work and that that was even before the fall. So contrary to popular belief, work is not meant to torture nor simply to make a living. It is something holy. In fact, work is something we can take in large quantities without suffering any harm. 

Here's an except of one of my favorite parts of the book, one that impacted me tremendously:

"To take up work that we can do well is like cultivating our selves as gardens filled with hidden potential; it is to make the greatest room for the ministry of competence. 

Second, because the main purpose of work is to serve the word, we would want to choose work that benefit others. We have to ask whether our work or organization or industry makes people better or appeals to the worst aspects of their characters. 

Third, if possible, we do not simply wish to benefit our family, benefit the human community; and benefit ourselves - we also want to benefit our field of work itself. In Genesis 1 and 2, we saw that God not only cultivated his creation, but he created more cultivators. Likewise, our goal should not simply be to do work, but to increase the human race's capacity to cultivate the created world."

Isn't that brilliant?

I also learnt that bringing God into the workplace doesn't simply mean evangelising in the office, but to do our work to the best of our abilities to make the best use of the talents He has given to us in order to glorify Him. 

Finally, I must say that as a Christian book, this tastes rather different from the regular fare. Although easy to read, his writing is peppered throughout with references to notable authors and thought leaders. It is interesting to hear what they have to say about work. 

I would recommend this firstly to the Christian who is wearied by work, it is a tremendous source of encouragement. Secondly, I would recommend it to anyone desiring to know why God created work and what His intent for it was. Finally, I would recommend it to non believers as well, for there are many useful things to be learnt simply as a person living here on earth, having to make a living. 

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