From spotlight - Spring 2019 - review
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The Good Book Company
2013, £3.39 (E-Book only), 112pp
Have you ever wondered 'what work does God want me to do?' Not what work I think looks fun or impressive, earns lots of money or fits with what my parents, partner, friends or society think is valuable, but what work did God intend for me to do?
Think you know? Unsure? Haven't a clue? Then I have the perfect book for you!
Tim Chester has written what can only be described as an eye-opening, earth-shattering book, designed to challenge our attitude towards work in the 21st century and feed us with a gospel-centred outlook on our purpose in the world of work.
I have to admit, I approached this book with a fair degree of self-righteousness and judgment. I thought I knew what the book was going to say (I mean, the clue is in the title, surely?) and believed it would be the same old spiel: we should be nice to our colleagues, show compassion to our patients, etc... etc... What I didn't expect, however, was to have the very foundations on which I stand knocked out from underneath me. Let me explain.
We live in a culture where who you are is defined by what you do and your worth is based on what you earn. We are told that we must climb the career ladder and earn more money to be considered successful. It's no wonder that so many of us feel dissatisfied, disillusioned and fed up with work.
In Gospel Centred Work, Chester reminds us that the equation is in fact inverted; work should be a product of our identity. As children of Christ, our identity is already secure, thus what we do (our work) should be the means of giving God glory and blessing others. As nurses, many of us have been granted unique gifts and skills such as compassion. We should honour those gifts and use them to serve others, rather than seeking a doomed pursuit of passing success.
This small book will take you on a journey; it starts with understanding why we were created to work and explores how to work in a fallen world. It follows Jesus' example and recognises what good work looks like. Written for individual or small group discussion, it provides practical reflections and activities on how to work in a hostile environment, whether that be due to an oppressive boss, difficult colleagues, fear of failure or unachievable demands. Finally, Chester reminds us of our call to be a blessing to others and a witness to non-Christians. He challenges us on how our faith and calling plays out in the decisions we make and the communities we seek to build, and how as brothers and sisters in Christ, we can support one another along the way.
It is all too easy to slip into the secular world's view on life and work and join the rat race in pursuit of unachievable fulfilment and happiness. It is all too easy to forget who we are: to forget that each and every one of us has a unique purpose. Work can be such a joy and a blessing not only to ourselves, but to our community, our patients and indeed, to God. Don't let yourself lose sight of what work is really about. Centre yourself on the gospel, on your Creator, and let him use you to transform his kingdom. And if you need a bit of help to get started... buy the book. I promise it's worth every penny!
Reviewed by Kate Walker, a practice nurse in north London