In Every Job a Parable, John Van Sloten argues that every vocation creates opportunities to know more about God. The author draws on a vast array of different vocations including hairstylists, language translators, and florists to show how God’s characteristics can be seen in the action being performed in those professions. Van Sloten begins in stating that work is God-ordained and is one of the most important arenas in which we can image God. Thus, work is an entryway by which we can more fully understand who God is and how He wants us to reflect His character in our dealings with the world. Moreover, the author describes our vocations as modern-day parables in which God teaches us about Himself using even the most mundane details of our work. Just as when Jesus used many work-based parables to teach his followers about God and His kingdom, the author asserts that God is also doing the same today through our jobs and the jobs of others. For example, in chapter four, Van Sloten describes how sanitation workers, sweepers, homemakers, and cleaners may seem to have unimpressive jobs but he or she is, in a way, participating in God’s work in cleaning up the world and making it new again. In the latter portion of the book, the author discusses how our jobs play a part in God’s grand plan to redeem and recreate our fallen world. Lastly, the author provides some suggestions on how we can be more attentive to receive and learn more about God and ourselves in our daily work and the work of those around us.
I would recommend this book to those who struggle to link their everyday work to God and His purposes. Many Christians often swerve towards the two extremes of either idolizing their careers as their lifelong pursuit or discounting their jobs as merely bringing bread to the table. Van Sloten reminds readers that work is a gift from God to allow us to gain greater knowledge of Him and bring about His redemptive plan. May the Spirit open our spiritual senses to gain greater appreciation of how various aspects of our jobs can lead us to a deeper understanding of God.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a book review.