September 2, 2013
Dear Marketplace Friend,
Happy Labor Day!
Okay, the origins of the holiday are woven into the union movements of an earlier era; when the holiday was proposed – nearly 130 years ago – the majority of American workers were still in farming, factories and mining. Today, the predominance of employment is service and knowledge workers, with more people packing key boards than tool belts. The day set aside to honor the honorable – the people whose efforts combine to create the most functional society in human history – is fitting.
We – the team who gather under the banner of The Master’s Program – are taking the day off, as well. Our work – the service we provide – places us in connection with people within the context of their career engagement. From the Point of View – this commentary that challenges the topics of our culture from a biblical worldview – to our quarterly session days for TMP – when we mentor cohorts of men or women whose influence through their leadership is enhanced in keeping with knowing and pursuing their Kingdom Calling – we come alongside our customers in their Monday-Friday life.
What does it mean to be a Christian in the marketplace career context? For some Christians, that question never seems to come up; they assume the form most likely to characterize their profession, and their faith is a non sequitur. Life, for them, is compartmentalized: their Sunday experience never invades their Monday reality.
There are serious followers of Jesus who ponder the premise of their professional life, seeking to connect the dots of their overarching faith with an overdemanding workplace.
Tim Keller – the pastor of Redeemer Church in Manhattan – has written a compelling argument for the importance of work to the believer: it is Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work. In it, Keller explores some of the underlying drivers that Christians bring to their working life: how could my career – which consumes the largest slice of my time – be done in service to God?
– To further social justice in the world?
– To be personally honest and evangelize my colleagues?
– To do skillful and excellent work?
– To create beauty?
– To be motivated to glorify God and to engage and influence culture?
– To work with a grateful, joyful heart despite the circumstances?
– To do whatever gives me the greatest joy and passion?
– To make as much money as possible, so that I can be as generous as possible?
The best answer? All of the above. Keller explores the dignity and meaning of the workplace for the Christian who is serious about making all of life a service to others, and an altar to the Almighty.
In The Master’s Program, we are ministry specialists: we help Christian leaders explore, expose and exploit their Kingdom Calling. In that pursuit, coming to understand that the Call to Faithfulness that is embedded in one’s marketplace role is an essential element to embrace.
I hope you’re experiencing some renewal and refreshment from your workweek norms on Labor Day. Maybe this has been a day allowing some self-time; perhaps you’ve planted yourself on a beach or by a pool to get the last of the summer vibe before you have to hit the pavement tomorrow.
Fire up your Kindle and download Every Good Endeavor. Be reminded of Paul’s challenge: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)