Yesterday I spent some time listening to the new Desiring God podcast Authors on the Line, which is hosted by Tony Reinke. In Reinke’s interview with Dr. Timothy Keller regarding Keller’s new work, Every Good Endeavor, there were a few two-minute segments that kept ringing in my ears. This is the first of them. While Reinke’s example uses pastors, I would encourage you that whatever your job may be, listen to the question and the answer. Think about not only your work, but your attitude towards your work over the last three weeks. Do any of Keller’s words ring true for you?
I think the first time I heard the phrase ‘god of Options’ was from Mark Dever. He was talking about young pastors who take the pastorate in a local church but who are always half-in. They are always eyeing a different church, always looking for a new church, a bigger church, a better church, a better position, and so they are not committed to their church – they are half-in. And we see this maybe with a lack of commitment, maybe with young adults in marriage, and there seems to be a common thread with Christians in the workplace who in their position are sort of half in, so drawn to this quote “god of Options” idea, that they are never all in one particular job but are always looking for the next job, the next position and so they are distracted. Do you see this as a problem?
Yes. Actually, I’m being a little ironic when I just say yes, but your question was well stated and I agree with it. I can just add this: people are looking for the more fulfilling thing. Very often they say, I would like something, a job, that is just a little more exciting to me, this job is just a little boring to me. And better paying. I think the Christian understanding of vocation is, if you produce a product, you produce something that makes people’s lives better, even if it is a rather boring process to do it – you are doing God’s work. You’re caring for God’s creation – you are serving people’s needs. Why does it have to be so incredibly – why does the process have to be so incredibly fulfilling when you know that you are doing something that helps people? And I do think that that’s part of what I mean when I say that we’ve lost the idea of calling and we are now looking at work as ways of fulfillment, and that actually in the end crushes you so you’re always half out, as you said.
The full interview can be found here.