As once again the majestic strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” swell and then fade at colleges and universities across the country, scores upon scores of newly minted graduates now prepare to take their places in the workforce.
What better time than May, then, to highlight books on work, calling, and vocation?
This month at Eerdmans.com, we’ve been doing just that: featuring an assortment of workplace spirituality books that are as ideal for young people just beginning their careers as they for more seasoned professionals seeking a renewed sense of spiritual purpose in their work.
Here are six of these exemplary Eerdmans Books on Faith and Work:
Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture
R. Paul Stevens
Adam and Eve worked. Jacob and Joseph worked. So did Ruth, David, Daniel, Jonah, Martha, Priscilla and Aquila, Paul — and most people in the Old and New Testaments.
In Work Matters marketplace theology expert R. Paul Stevens revisits more than twenty biblical accounts — from Genesis to Revelation — exploring through them the theological meaning of every sort of work, manual or intellectual, domestic or commercial. Taken together, his short, pithy reflections on these well-known Bible passages add up to a comprehensive, Bible-based theology of work — one that will be useful for anyone seeking to grasp more fully the theological dimensions of their daily labor.
Why do so many Christians struggle to relate their faith to their daily work? Could the church be to blame?
In this book John C. Knapp argues that the church’s ambiguous teachings about vocation, money, and business have long contributed to Christians’ uncertainty about discipleship in the workplace.
Drawing on his own expertise in business ethics and on numerous interviews with Christians in diverse occupations, Knapp offers a new theological framework for Christian life in the world of business.
Taking Your Soul to Work: Overcoming the Nine Deadly Sins of the Workplace
R. Paul Stevens and Alvin Ung
Encouraging businesspeople everywhere to “take their souls to work,” R. Paul Stevens and Alvin Ung here tap into wisdom of the Bible and the Christian spiritual tradition — and draw also on their own varied experiences in today’s global business community — to redefine the workplace as an arena for personal spiritual growth. Together they discuss real-life dilemmas and give practical guidance for turning professional work into the catalyst for a richer, more balanced spiritual life.
In brief, conversational chapters — each rounded out with an action plan or a case study plus exercises for further reflection – they discuss:
- The nine deadly sins of the workplace (“soul-sapping struggles at work”)
- The ninefold fruit of the Spirit that can meet our workplace needs
- The nine positive outcomes of integrating spirituality and work
Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor
Ben Witherington III
Most Christians spend most of their waking hours working, yet many regard work as at best a necessary evil — just one more unfortunate by-product of humanity’s fall from grace.
Not so, says Ben Witherington III, and in Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor, he redefines work as neither the curse nor the cure of human life but, rather, as something good that God has given us to do.
In this brief primer on the biblical theology and ethics of work, Witherington carefully unpacks the concept of work, examining its relationship to rest, play, worship, the normal cycle of human life, and the coming Kingdom of God.
Work as calling, work as ministry, work as a way to make a living, and the notably unbiblical notion of retirement — Witherington’s Work engages these subjects and more, combining scholarly acumen with good humor, common sense, cultural awareness, and biblically based insights from Genesis to Revelation.
What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life? Asking the Right Questions
Douglas J. Brouwer
Everyone longs for a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. But where does that meaning come from? How do we discover our callings in life?
In his short, helpful book Douglas Brouwer offers a personal, spiritual response to the vocational questions people commonly ask. He links our true purpose to following Jesus’ greatest commandment — love God and love your neighbor — and points out that we find meaning and purpose by living not for ourselves but for something larger outside ourselves.
Written for seekers of all ages, What Am I Supposed to Do with My Life? describes Brouwer’s own struggle to come to grips with the concept of vocation, incorporating inspirational stories of people and vocation from his many years of ministry.
Doing God’s Business: Meaning and Motivation for the Marketplace
R. Paul Stevens
Christians have long struggled to understand the place of business in the life of faith. Just how do the spheres of private devotion and public business intersect in a meaningful way?
R. Paul Stevens has been exploring answer this question since his earliest working days in his father’s steel business. In Doing God’s Business he tells readers how they can find lasting and satisfying meaning for marketplace involvement in light of Christian faith and tradition. Stevens explores the potential of business as a location for practicing everyday spiritual disciplines and as a source of creativity and deeper relationship with God.
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