Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Quotes from Tim Keller's book on work, "Every Good Endeavour"

I read, in my wrestling about my role here and about choices for my future role, Tim Keller's book Every Good Endeavor. It's about work and vocation, something I've studied before but I love Keller and clearly needed some wise writing to guide me as I am working through all of this.

The core, of course, is a good reformed theology of work.
"Every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God's calling, can matter forever. That is what the Christian faith promises."

"The material creation was made by God to be developed, cultivated, and cared for in an endless number of ways through human labor. But even the simplest of these ways is important (like housecleaning). Without them all, human life cannot flourish. "

"Work has dignity because it is something that God does and because we do it in God's place, as his representatives."

"All work now becomes a way to love the God who saved us freely; and by extension, a way to love our neighbor."

Either through my personality or the strong messages from my work places, I have struggled with placing my identity and worth in my productivity and external results. It's a classic American thing, and so I really sit with these quotes.
"Josef Pieper argues that leisure is not the mere absence of work, but an attitude of mind or soul in which you are able to contemplate and enjoy things as they are in themselves, without regard to their value or their immediate utility. The work-obsessed mind – as in our Western culture – tends to look at everything in terms of efficiency, value, and speed. But there must also be an ability to enjoy the most simple and ordinary aspects of life, even ones that are not strictly useful, but just delightful."

“Since we already have in Christ the things that other people work for – salvation, self worth, a good conscience, and peace – now we may work simply to love God and our neighbors. It is a sacrifice of joy, a limitation that offers freedom."

"{Competent work being a form of love} is one of the main ways for us to find satisfaction in our work, even if our jobs are not, by the world's standards, exciting, high paying, and desirable. Even though, as Luther argues, all work is objectively valuable to others, it will not be subjectively fulfilling unless you consciously see and understand your work as a calling to love your neighbor. John Calvin wrote that “no task will be [seen as] so sordid and base, provided you obey your calling in it, that it will not shine and be reckoned very precious in God's sight.”

"[Our culture says] there is no standard or authority higher than the Choosing Self. Our consciousness and our needs are more real that anything else outside us; there is nothing to which we should submit, nothing that may trump our own happiness without our permission; and there is nothing for which we should sacrifice our freedom. But in the Bible, the very definition of passion – think of Christ's Passion – is to sacrifice your freedom for someone else."

"When your heart comes to hope in Christ and the future world he has guaranteed – when you are carrying his easy yoke – you finally have the power to work with a free heart. You can accept gladly whatever level of success and accomplishment God gives you in your vocation, because he has called you to it. You can work with passion and rest, knowing that ultimately the deepest desires of your heart – including your specific aspirations for your earthly work – will be fulfilled when you reach your true country."
And now, as I wrestle with the options in front of me for counseling and work as a professional counselor here, I am sitting on these quotes:

"The question must now be, “How, with my existing abilities and opportunities, can I be of greatest service to other people, knowing what I do of God's will and of human need?”

"First, if we have the luxury of options, we would want to choose work that we can do well. It should fit our gifts and our capacities. 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 world, we would want to choose work that benefits others."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to share your reflections on this book Kacie! The last two quotes were really impactful for me.