Book Review: Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller

 

 

If social justice has been covered in the book Generous Justice, then the cultural mandate has been fleshed out through Keller’s new book, Every Good Endeavor. Like Generous Justice, Every Good Endeavor teaches Christians how to put their faith into practice in public spheres, this time through the work place. I haven’t read too many books on integrating faith with (professional) work. Some of the ones I have come across seemed a little too motivational and based on human opinions and pop culture methods than on biblical wisdom. Timothy Keller does a great service by taking a more biblical approach when analyzing how faith relates to work. The author describes work as something that is engrained in our longing and mission in life. However, we as humans either take a lazy approach to work or let work consume our life to the point of idolatry.

 

 The main point behind fulfilling, God-purposed work is to do work not out of selfish reasons or misplaced ambition, but to do it with a heart that longs to serve and benefit others. This, as you may perceive, is rooted in the gospel, so our attitude to work flows out of our commitment to love and serve God. The book is broken into three parts: God’s Plan for Work, Our Problems with Work, and The Gospel and Work. The first section is an introduction to the biblical theology behind work and what part it plays in our life. The second section deals with the problems we have with work because of our fallen nature. The third section talks about the gospel and its influence on our perspective so we don’t fall victim to our sinful tendencies regarding work.

 

 Overall, this is a book I can recommend to those looking for inspiration and a biblical perspective on work. This book is well written, as it incorporates Keller’s signature writing style of simple, but elegant prose, incorporation of historical and pop culture references, and occasional exposition of chosen passages related to the topic at hand. The only caution I have with this book is the degree to which Keller elevates work on the near same level as evangelism and preaching of God’s Word. The author makes it seem at times that the gospel message and the mission of the church (such as his exposition of Matthew 4:19) is about cultural renewal and preserving peace, shalom, and justice, when in reality Jesus states clearly in Matthew 16:15 that the purpose of the church is to preach the gospel to all creation. Change needs to come from the heart, and that only happens when the gospel message of salvation from sin and hell is preached and a sinner believes by repentance and faith.

 

 However, there is still tremendous value in this book, as it teaches about one important aspect of Christian living, which is to be a godly witness to the people around by submitting to authority and abounding in good works for the sake of an effective Christian testimony (Titus 3:1, Romans 13). Keller’s book explores this theme specifically through work (or master and slave relationship), and that can be tremendously helpful for Christians who are approaching their work or employers with the wrong attitude. 

Book grade: A-