At my work at a local Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram dealership, we have a weekly bible study group. The owner of the store is a wonderful man who believes if we incorporate God into our work, that the selling of cars, the service of cars, the office work, will be more rewarding, not only for the employees but for the customers as well. This month the group decided to take a new format and make it a biblical book study group. The first book we’re reading is “Every Good Endeavor” by Timothy Keller. We are only on chapter three, but it really has changed my outlook on work, even when applied to writing. I know how meaningless a writer can feel, especially when their sales are in the dumps, or their profits are minuscule. I know a lot of times I’ve thought “What’s the point? What am I really changing?” So, I thought I’d share what I learn each week from this book to give myself and other writers some inspiration, motivation, and purpose in their writing.
Unfortunately, I only have the Ch 3 outline with me at the moment, so that’s where I will start today, but I will go back and share the intro, ch 1, and ch 2 as well, most likely tomorrow, so you can enjoy the message of the book in its entirety.
“Fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1: 28)
What does this verse mean to you” How do you interpret it?
To me, this verse meant you make babies and you try to overtake the earth as your own, but that’s not the meaning at all. We’re meant to fill the earth, not just to fill it with an abundance of people, but with a community. And the subdue the earth does not mean to abuse it. It means to grow with it, to help it grow, and to take care of it.
He made it our job to develop and build this society. God owns the world, but he has put it under our care to cultivate it. How do you live this out through your work?
This one is always kind of tough for me. I can see how at the dealership how a car salesman is living this out. He is guiding a customer through a tough purchase to better their lives with a dependable vehicle they’re eventually going to entrust the safety of their family and legacy in. But when it comes to writing, how am I developing and building society? I think it comes down to community. Writing stories connects people, forces them to relate to one another by shared interests and shared pain. As a writer, I feel I am cultivating oneness through my writing.
“The human race will fill the earth with its own kind, and will form the earth for its own kind.” – Philosopher Al Wotters
It means civilization, not just procreation. “It is rearranging the raw materials of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world in general, the people in particular, thrive and flourish.” How do you live this concept out through your work?
Again, this was another hard one for me to consider. I do believe that writing does encourage civilization. It keeps the mind sharp by challenging it with new concepts. As far as rearranging the raw materials of God’s creation to help the world and the people thrive, that’s exactly what writing does. It was hard to see at first, but the earth isn’t only God’s creation, we are. By writing you are rearranging the thoughts and inner monologue of God’s creation to bring stories to life that help people. Stories can help people in so many ways, too! It can be an escape from the stress of the real world for a while, it can bring happiness and connection with the author and characters, it can show someone the right way to do something to bring happiness in their lives, and many other countless ways.
“Making beautiful things of enduring value.” – James Tufenkian, founder of Harvest Song fruit preserves
Recognizing the God who supplies our resources and who gives us the privilege of joining as cultivators helps us enter our work with a relentless spirit of creativity. How do you apply this spirit of creativity to your work, or how could you if you don’t?
I think writing and art is the embodiment of creativity. It doesn’t get more creative that making something out of nothing but one’s own ideas, does it? Understanding, though, that it does have a purpose, that God put this passion in you for a reason and you’re meant to use it for the good of mankind really does give you untapped motivation and inspiration to do more and do better.
So that is what I’ve learned from chapter three. Even if you’re not a writer, you can apply this to any job in the world that is done, from janitor all the way up to CEO, all of our jobs are important, dignified, and serve a purpose on this earth. Knowing what your calling is and how it serves will set you free from viewing work as a curse, as something to be endured. You will learn to love it and take pride and joy in what you do, no matter what it is, no matter how small it seems.
Please leave your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear from you!