I think it’s appropriate to post this review on a Monday!!
Last week, I reviewed the first volume of the Cultural Engagement Bundle from Lexham Press, Every Square Inch by Dr. Bruce Riley Ashford. The book was a great introduction to a biblical view of culture and how Christians should interact with culture in general (for the full review, click here). The second volume of the bundle takes one aspect of cultural engagement and expands on it. Dr. Walter Strickland II and Dr. Benjamin Quinn’s book, Every Waking Hour: An Introduction to Calling, seeks to provide a biblical basis for how Christians can best apply their faith to their work and vocation.
Strickland and Quinn begin by forming a theology of work from which they can evaluate how one’s faith influences the things they do. As with Ashford’s text, Strickland and Quinn use the “Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration” framework to set their argument. In Creation, we know that work is good because not only God worked, but He commanded Adam to work as well. After the Fall, the work that man was called to do was made harder because sin entered creation. But the Lord did not leave man in this position alone. Strickland and Quinn argue that through Christ’s work on the Cross and in a future, physical kingdom, “work” will be made good again (Loc. 175-184).
The authors expand the idea of work and redemption throughout the rest of the text. They discuss various points in both the Old and New Testaments where work is discussed. In each chapter, they point to how a proper view of work demonstrates both a vertical view as well as a horizontal one. By this, they mean that one’s vocation is not simply a means to have access to unbelievers with whom one can share the Gospel. They argue that thought is only vertically minded. One’s vocation allows an opportunity where attributes of God can be demonstrated by the believer to the watching world. This includes not only presenting the Gospel, but also doing your work well and recognizing the redemptive aspects in one’s work.
I would recommend this book to anyone who works. When I say “work,” I mean what Strickland and Quinn do as well. If you engage with the created world, you should read this book to help understand how your work should be fulfilling and God honoring, even if it’s not your “dream.” For example, I am an insurance agent. My dream is not to stay an insurance agent forever. I am pursuing a Ph.D. so that I can teach. That is my passion. However, my work as an insurance agent allows me to show others a strong work ethic, as God did in creation. I can do my job well so that others are protected from missing coverage that they would need reflecting how God cares for His creation. There are many other aspects as well, but I hope that you pick up a copy to see how your view of work should be shaped by Scripture.
Like Ashford’s book before it, and the final book in the bundle as well, Every Waking Hour is arranged as a workbook. At the end of each chapter there are action points with space to provide an answer. A few books listed as Recommended Reading at the end of the chapters as well. The book is an introductory work, but does a great job of presenting biblical arguments for how Christians should view work and how this should impact how we do our work.