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Why Tim Keller Wants You to Stay in That Job You Hate

Why Tim Keller Wants You to Stay in That Job You Hate

The Redeemer pastor explains how he ministers to laypeople facing career confusion.

The Calvinist stream was more like yes, it's not just you are caring for creation through work, but you are shaping it. and therefore your beliefs have an impact.

When you put those four streams together, I think they're very comprehensive. If you isolate them from each other, they can create idiosyncrasies at best and imbalances at worst.

I love that in the book you don't just write about people in positions with a lot of authority and influence, although you do cover that. You also include people who, because of what stage of life they're in or the shape their life has taken, don't feel like they have a lot of power at work.

What do you have to say to people who just feel like, "Well, I'm kind of stuck in this job and there's not a lot I can do to change the circumstances of my job right now"?

I would say the Lutheran stream and the evangelical stream [are helpful].

The evangelical stream puts the emphasis on the heart: How do you deal with frustrations? How do you deal with co-workers whom you want to strangle? How do you deal with the fact that nobody seems to see the good work you're doing?

That gets into Ephesians 6—God sees. It's pietistic, but in the best sense of the word. You're Brother Lawrence, you're practicing the presence of God. He cares whether I do a good job today. He's watching me.

The Lutheran stream says that everyone on the earth is being fed by God. The simplest farm girl milking the cow, the truck driver bringing the milk, the grocer selling it are doing God's work—which means there's no such thing as menial labor, as long as the job is actually helping somebody, as long as you're not selling internet porn or something like that. Luther gives this amazing amount of dignity to all kinds of work. Actually, I would go as far to say I don't know that there's a Christian way to land a plane but I do think there's probably a Christian way to write plays. I think my faith automatically is going to affect how I write a play. I don't think it automatically affects how I land a plane.

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Displaying 2–4 of 4 comments

Jack Ratekin

April 24, 2013  2:00pm

What is the Christian way to write a play? With a typewriter? A pen and paper? Is it OK to use a laptop? Do you have to be a touch typist or can you be a "hunt and pecker". Unless he meant that there is a uniquely Christian form, content and plot line which must be followed. If that's what he meant then he's full of hot air.

Doug Knox

April 24, 2013  9:04am

The comment, “Actually, I would go as far to say I don't know that there's a Christian way to land a plane but I do think there's probably a Christian way to write plays,” is worth examining. “Christian” plays--and fiction and art and other creative works--are easy to visualize. Christian ways to land a plane are there as well. Christian aircraft mechanics is a laudable endeavor. Air traffic control guided by a Christian regard for human dignity is equally desirable. Why not Christian piloting, flanked as it is by clear sentiment on either side? In an early lecture series on basic Reformed theology, R.C. Sproul noted the unusually high number of successful emergency landings among Western airline pilots as opposed to Middle Eastern pilots. The reason, he said, was because Western pilots live under the benefits of the Protestant Reformation and fight for their passengers’ lives. Middle Eastern pilots tended to consigning their problem to the will of Allah. (DouglasKnox.com)

Peter K. Johnson

April 23, 2013  4:38pm

Being a Christian in the marketplace and demonstrating real Christian values is challenging but wonderfully rewarding. I have shared the gospel message in business settings all over the world and have found people more open than in so-called religious environments. God opens amazing opportunities to show his love and good news.

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