Thursday, February 28, 2013

Controlled by Work

Officially , the discussion over at The High Calling on Tim Keller’s Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work finished Monday. But for me, the last section of the book had so much to consider that I’m not quite willing to let go.

The last section of the book, “The Gospel and Work,” includes four chapters. My post on Monday, Stories and Worldviews, addressed only one of the four. Keller packs so much into each chapter that I could likely blog for a month on each one.

One section I can’t leave alone, because I can’t let go of it. In the final chapter, “New Power for Work,” Keller briefly recounts the story in Luke 5 when Jesus calls his first disciples. They had been fishing all day without catching anything, and he tells them to go back out and let down their nets. They protest; they were ready to pack it in and wait for another day. But he persists, and they go. And the catch is huge. It was at this moment that Jesus that he tells them that from this point on they would fish for people.

“Notice,” Keller says, “that when Jesus called them to follow him, it was at the very moment of great financial success – the huge catch of fish. But they could, and they did, leave their nets behind. In Jesus’s presence, they were no longer controlled by their work” (emphasis added by me).

How many of us can say that we are truly not controlled by our work? How many of us can admit that we have not made work an idol?

I saw something else in this passage. Jesus called the disciples in the context of their work. He didn’t say leave work behind; he said I have different work in mind for you – but it will still be work.

He had different work in mind for Paul, too – but Paul still relied on tent making from time to time to provide needed income. Prisca and Aquila remained in the tent making business, yet they were called to faith.

How many of us can say we live our faith in our work? That we do our work so capably and so well that our employers want to hire people just like us? Can we do our work with a “free heart,” as Keller suggests?

“You can work with passion and rest,” he says, “knowing ultimately that deepest desires of your heart…will be fulfilled when you reach your true country, the new heavens and the new earth. So in any time you can work with joy, satisfaction, and no regrets.”

We can work with a free heart because we have the hope within us.

It’s downright revolutionary. And downright liberating.

You can see the various posts, comments, discussion, and links to other posts by visiting The High Calling.

1 comment:

David Rupert said...

A controlling work environment sucks the life out of you. But, as you say, we can't just chuck it. And I'm not real keen on the whole "work-life balance." At various times, one will out weigh the other. To me, the key is to live in obedience and to follow God's leading every day.