5 Key Takeaways from Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller

1. Laboring for the Audience of One

While working a job, there are many different audiences you might desire approval from. There is your boss, your social media followers, your fellow colleagues, etc. However, a point I really appreciated that Keller brought out is to labor for the audience of God alone. If we do this, we know it changes everything! Profits get purpose, work has meaning, and lives get changed.  This is a great point to try and apply in one’s life. 

2. Bring a wholistic faith to your workplace

How are Christians supposed to glorify God at work? Usually each stream of Christianity can say something different. You might have heard a few of these below:

  • The way to serve God at work is to further social justice in the world. 
  • The way to serve God at work is to be personally honest and evangelize your colleagues. 
  • The way to serve God at work is just to do skillful, excellent work. 
  • The way to serve God at work is to work with a grateful, joyful, gospel-changed heart through all the ups and downs.
  • The way to serve God at work is to make as much money as you can, so that you can be as generous as you can. 

Yet, Keller challenges us to (a) not partake in only one of the above streams and (b) see each as a way to serve God. I find that liberating to seek to bring a wholistic faith to the workplace! Let us not say one of these is the main way to glorify god but all are beautiful ways we can be the aroma of Christ in our work. 

3. Work is Good

Leisure and pleasure are great things that God provides us. However, we can only take so much of them. We need purpose. We need something to go after and labor towards. One great example of the greatness of work was in the Garden of Eden before sin came into the world. (Genesis 2:15) Let us learn to not view work as a necessary evil to make a living, but as a glorious way we can make a contribution to God, our neighbors and world! 

4. Do not seek “modern salvation” though your work

Keller argues, “While ancient monks may have sought salvation through religious works, many modern people seek a kind of salvation from career success. This leads us to seek only high-paying, high-status jobs, and to “worship” them in perverse ways. But the gospel frees us from the relentless pressure of having to prove ourselves and secure our identity through work, for we are already proven and secure. It also frees us from a condescending attitude toward less sophisticated labor and from envy over more exalted work.” There is a temptation to find our identity in our work…..however it cant answer our deepest questions. 

5. All Occupations have “thorns and thistles”

Being 30 I have had to learn this the hard way in my 20s. No job is perfect. All jobs have greatness and hardship intertwined. There is no perfect job out there where everyday is like a dream. Know that work is both blessed and cursed at the same. Find something you are passionate about. Find something that gives you a lot of meaning. But just know it will not be perfect. This can free you up to enjoy where the Lord currently has you and not operate always looking for the “next step.”