Book Review: The Gospel and Work

Work. It seems to be an area of contention in the world today. The idea towards work for a lot of people, dare I say the majority, is that they would not have to work. But in the divine economy that the Lord Jesus Christ has set up, work is a part of it. Having the right attitude about it is crucial for a life that is fulfilling and purposeful.

The Gospel for Life series has addressed the subject in their book The Gospel and Work. There are total of nine books in the series addressing various topics of the day like pornography, abortion, and religious liberty.

It is not just a book by one individual but many authors who contribute to a particular aspect of the topic. In The Gospel and Work, each contributor asks five things om the topic:

• What are we for?
• What does the gospel say?
• How should the Christian live?
• How should the church engage?
• What does the culture say?

Addressing these five issues are Bethany L. Jenkins, Benjamin T. Quinn, Greg Forster, Tom Nelson, and Daniel Darling.

In The Gospel and Work, it addresses the issue of work being a part of worship. It is putting it in that context where we can see our work as an offering to God with the gifts and talents He’s given us. That first and foremost, our work is to glorify God.

Bethany Jenkins says,

“The more we understand how the gospel redeems our work, the more we understand that our talents and gifts and not ours to keep, but to give away. Our primary calling is to know Christ. Our vocational assignments are merely outgrowths of that calling which means that knowing Christ is the everyday pursuit that fuels how we exercise our gifts and talents.”

In one of the best parts of the book, Greg Forster addresses the issue of worship being an everyday reality and how that is expressed by the work we do.

“If church members see Sunday morning as the primary time they worship God and do not understand that what they do on Monday morning is prime-time worship, then our good and great triune God who is worthy of our true and best worship receives puny and impoverished worship from His new covenant people. In the original creation, God designed us to work and worship in a seamless way.”

Overall, the book addresses the change of mindset for the child of God towards their work. Once we begin to see work as worship, then we can get begin to see our lives as being meaningful on a daily basis since work is a major part of our existence. It is important to understand that the first thing God gave Adam was a job before he gave him a woman.

The book is a decent primer on understanding and connecting work as something that is meaningful and God-given. It gives a solid foundation on our attitude and outlook when it comes to work. It addresses the balance that needs to be between the meaningfulness of work and the curse that comes along with it which makes it hard.

Daniel Darling addresses this issue when he says:

“Work in a fallen world is still a means by which we bring glory to our creator, but it is now met by groaning creation. The words of Jesus introduce the threefold corruption of work: pain, frustration, and futility. Work is painful, not simply because of the exertion required. Even before the fall, God established rhythms of working rest. What is different about labor in a corrupted cosmos is that work now brings pain.”

This then is the one reason why many people don’t want to work. They don’t want the pain that comes with it. Understanding this about our work from a gospel perspective, or rather a God perspective when we go back to the book of Genesis, helps us to bear it and know we still can glorify God even on the worst days in our work.

The Gospel and Work is worth the read if not for the reminder of how we as Christians should look at work and come to a place to work God gets more glory from our lives through it. It’s not real deep but it is practical and faith-building. I give a C+. Now, don’t let that fool you. I recommend this for Bible study groups and general discussion. It’s worth getting on that basis.

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