Rejoicing the City

I read Amy Sherman’s Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good about a year ago, but it still has had a deep impact on me.  In fact, reading her book was the catalyst that really made me hunker down and actually start this blog – something I had been thinking of for some time previously.  I think what I liked most about the book was Amy Sherman’s enthusiasm about the ability of Christ-followers to make an impact in the world through their everyday work.  Her enthusiasm is infectious and made me feel as though, with God, all things truly are possible – the sky’s the limit!  Now, having said that, as other reviewers have commented on GoodReadKingdom Callings, Amazon, and elsewhere, the book is somewhat geared toward ministry leaders and helping them to realize that the callings of lay people needs to cultivated and unleashed.  So some aspects of the book may seem somewhat less than applicable for a layperson.

However, I think any layperson will find him or herself greatly inspired just by reading the various examples and methods of how to have a deep impact for Christ in their workplace.  Speaking of methods, she examines in part three of the book four ways to engage in vocational stewardship: by making a difference where we already work, by using our vocational skills in volunteer and ministry efforts, by using one’s entrepreneurial abilities to start a social enterprise, and by participating in a church’s target initiative.  The last option can be where a church seeks to make an impact in a particular community or by making a difference in a particular issue (i.e. some churches seek to target sex trafficking).

The first part of the book is also very important.  It really lays the foundation for what it looks like to “rejoice the city” as found in Proverbs 11:10 – “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices”.  So Amy Sherman looks at biblical realities of a rejoiced city.  Then she explains who the righteous (in Hebrew, tsaddiqim) are by examining the characteristics and work implication of righteous people in their relationships with God, within themselves, and with others.  Finally, in part one she looks at why so often Christians fail to be tsaddiqim in their communities, tracing the issue to an overemphasis on individual salvation and not enough on “the cosmic redemption and renewal of all things”.  This negatively impacts our worship and our discipleship and, perhaps most important, leads to a false eschatology whereby we fail to take seriously the importance of Scripture’s promise of a “new heaven and new earth.”

Lastly, part two seemed the part that was most geared toward ministry leaders, showing how they can help congregants to become inspired, to discover, and to be formed in the area of vocational stewardship.  Still, it does contain some important points on the integration of faith and work.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in faith-work integration or wondering how they can make a difference by using their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for the glory of God.  I look forward to reading InterVarsity’s forthcoming book by Steve Garber, Visions of Vocation, and hope that it is even more targeted toward laypersons than this one.

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