We should trust the Bible, says Timothy Paul Jones, because it is ‘grounded in the words of a man who died and rose again’ (p.111). Jones’s basic presupposition is this: ‘If we live in a world where it is possible…
- Publisher: Navigators UK
- ISBN: 978-1-90096-425-8
- Pages: 48
- Price: 4.00
This is a helpful series of eight studies aimed at small groups. It lays out biblical principles and encourages a God-honouring attitude towards work.
It would probably be best used with university student groups or a church’s men’s group, though the principles would be beneficial for all. The blurb states that, whatever your employment, ‘these studies will help you connect the biblical narrative to your work, your rest, and your calling.’
After an introductory study, which explores different attitudes to work, there are foundational studies on work before and after the Fall, with helpful insight from Ecclesiastes’ description of ‘meaninglessness’.
Next is the crucial study on working ‘as for the Lord’ (Colossians 3:23). There is a necessary and refreshing study on the importance of rest, from Genesis 2, with the provocative thought of ‘busyness as moral laziness’.
The Christian’s impact for good at the workplace is also studied as ‘salt and light’. Success and failure at work are also addressed, in the light of Jesus’ parable of the minas. A final study draws conclusions and urges action.
Each study requires some homework before the group meets. That may include listening to a talk or reading an article online (from both Christian and secular sources), as well as thinking through a few questions in advance.
The book’s strength is to successfully encourage a biblical attitude towards work, with the crucial and sorely needed integration of one’s faith into one’s work. Interaction with other contemporary material provides freshness to the subject. However, the interaction with Bible passages seems to me to be a little brief and insubstantial at times.
Perhaps another weakness is the lack of guiding notes and explanations for those leading the studies and the lack of a good, solid conclusion to each study. The series might also have benefited from a more rigorous study on addressing problems and conflicts at work, such as inter-personal conflicts and conflicts of faith and conscience in a non-Christian workplace, which are touched on only briefly.
Notwithstanding these quibbles, this book will be helpful for establishing God-honouring principles about working as a Christian, particularly for young people anticipating employment.
In addition, more seasoned workers will benefit from the opportunity to address both the ‘work alcoholism’ and negative attitudes towards work that one can so easily fall into. The result ought, by the Spirit’s help, to be a more biblically balanced and Christ-glorifying life.