Thirty Christian leaders from business, political, cultural, and theological sectors have come together with The Washington Times and the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics to publish a special report on work, entitled, ”Faith at Work: Individual Purpose, Flourishing Communities.” The report has the potential to reach millions in print and online. The Washington Times has 10 million unique visitors and 40 million page views per month. In addition, the paper is distributed to some 10,000 leaders in Washington, including every Congressional office.
Whether you’re reading about faith and work for the first time or happen to be an expert on it, you may not have come across one publication like this that pulls together such a broad spectrum of voices on the topic.
From Speaker Paul Ryan, Gov. Sam Brownback, and the late Jack Kemp to Rev. Sammy Rodriguez, Pastor Tim Keller, Michael Novak and Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green, these leaders articulate the rich Christian heritage of work. To them, work goes beyond mere words or symbols, as valuable as those may be. Because of their faith, work has intrinsic value and dignity. There is no separation between the sacred and the secular, and to do their job well is how they love God and their neighbor. And that is just as important as what they might do on a Sunday.
The following excerpts give you a feel for the wide spectrum of voices from the report:
Dr. Timothy Keller, “The Dignity of All Work”
We were built for work and the dignity it gives us as human beings, regardless of status or pay. The practical implications of this principle are far-reaching.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, “Hispanics Work Like It’s Holy”
Our work ethic is driven by our commitment to our families, and it is inspired by our faith…. We are a community that works hard and loves God, embraces “Judeo-Christian” values, and we are proudly anchored on the bedrock of family.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, “Partners with God in the Work of Creation”
While poverty has an economic effect, it also has a moral effect. When you cannot work, you cannot fulfill your God-given purpose…. A healthy economy…allows every person to reach their full potential.
Gov. Sam Brownback, “Transforming Lives through the Dignity of Work”
Work is fundamental to the human experience, whereas idleness and dependence on the government degrade human dignity by refusing to acknowledge the unique capacity and potential of every human being.
Diane Paddison, “The Truth about Bringing Your Faith to Work: ‘Walk the Talk'”
If you are showing up to work, then your faith is too. How that faith plays out in the office is much less about your strategy for showing it to people and much more about the health of your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Greg Leith, “Mops, People, and the Soul of Your Firm”
Business, from the smallest mom-and-pop operation to the largest global conglomerate, is about leaders, women and men, living in community, making culture better, so humans can flourish. When that happens, workers, customers, and vendors have the curtain pulled back on the meaning and purpose of life. When that happens, entire companies, communities, and countries are changed as they move towards their God-ordained purposes.
Roberta Green Ahmanson, “Works of Art: Tangible Evidence of God’s Beauty, Glory”
Creating works of art is a high calling in the Christian tradition…. When artists, be they Christian or not, create works of art, they are participating in God’s superabundance.
Andy Crouch, “Get the First Two Right, and the Third Will Almost Surely Follow”
What is your calling? It’s really pretty easy: to bear the image [of God] and to restore the image. To engage in the kind of fruitful tending of the world that would cause the Creator to say, “behold, it is very good”; and to boldly confront idolatry and injustice wherever they are found.
Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury, “Education and Vocation: A Comeback Story”
The trick for believers in today’s culture is to connect “what they’re saying on their knees” with their life and career…This can and should be done through the education of the believing community, from childhood through higher education, too. And the church should be involved throughout the process. In fact, it should lead.
Penny Nance, “The God-Given Dignity of a Woman at Work”
There is great dignity in work and great dignity in womanhood…. Your work is a gift to God and a gift from God – for your flourishing and the building of his kingdom. Enjoy that gift.
Here is a complete list of the authors: Dr. Tim Keller, Dr. Os Guinness, Dr. Art Lindsley, Dr. Anne R. Bradley, Hugh Whelchel, Nancy Pearcey, Dr. Tom Nelson, Andy Crouch, Rev. Robert Sirico, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, John Stonestreet, Greg Leith, Michael Novak, Dr. Jesse Miranda, Josh Good, Penny Nance, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Gov. Sam Brownback, Jimmy Kemp, the late Jack Kemp, Steve Green, Roberta Green Ahmanson, Dr. Ted Baehr, Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury, Diane Paddison, Terence Chatmon, Lee Truax, Dr. Amy L. Sherman, Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Phyllis Hennecy Hendry, and Mike Sharrow.