In The Gospel at Work, Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert hope to engage readers in rethinking their theology of work. The main premise is an argument against idleness and idolatry that easily plague Christians in the workplace. Instead, Christian should be exhibiting faithfulness and fruitfulness in their work regardless of what type of work they are called to do. For those who see work as a necessary evil, work becomes laborious which easily leads to idleness and boredom. For those who view work as irreplaceable, their career consumes every free moment of their lives resulting in other priorities in life such as family and church to languish. The authors repeatedly urge Christians to understand that work is fruitful and godly only when we put God at the centre of it. When we aim to please God and serve others in our daily jobs, we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us in our careers. Although our current jobs may not be the most satisfying in our eyes, Traeger and Gilbert urge readers to remain faithful in their current situations while looking for God to open up new opportunities. After laying a theological framework of work in the first half of the book, the latter half contains much useful advice such as pointers on how to discern whether if a job is suitable for a Christian to undertake, how to evangelize in the workplace, and how to handle situations in which one’s employer is hostile. For example, the authors’ remind Christians that we need to actively point to Christ in our daily actions and conversations at work instead of waiting for non-Christian coworkers to ask about our faith.
I would happily recommend this book to those who may be struggling to find meaning in their work. I remember when I used to waste much time trying to figure out which career path would ultimately make me satisfied. However, the authors wisely point out that work is only 35% of our lives and the other 65% is just as important. We need to be faithful in the other roles we have in life such as spouse, parent, church member, or citizen. Moreover, no matter what work we find ourselves in, the important point is that we work for God. When we have this mindset, we will be careful in the attitude, motivation, and approach we take when we negotiate contracts, fill prescription orders, or pour concrete on the sidewalk. Instead of thinking about how a particular job makes us happy, wealthy, or satisfied, we should look to see how we can glorify God and help others in our careers. Let us not fall into the temptations of seeing work as evil or worshipping work as an idol. Rather, work is God’s command, blessing, and means of grace by which we seek to proclaim Christ.