Scientific Management 2.0

Here is a great post by Seth Godin on how scientific management, which created many efficiencies in manual work but also turned it into a grind by eliminating individual initiative, is now coming to white collar work.

That is, unless you focus on doing your work as art, with remarkability and excellence, rather than just doing what you do to get it done.

Then you can truly stand out and do work that cannot be treated as a commodity.

Read the whole thing.

Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah

This looks like a great new book from Dave Kraft: Learning Leadership from Nehemiah. Here’s a summary:

A leader is a person who has a vision from God, firmly believes in that vision, and doesn’t move toward its fulfill­ment alone. Real leaders possess the ability to get others motivated about this new idea. They know the problem, but they also have a solution in mind. A leader is a per­son who is dissatisfied with the ways things are. He has a burden, a vision, and a call to see something different. He wants to see something change, to build a new fu­ture.

He then begins to communicate what he thinks, and where he wants to go. Nehemiah gives a “vision talk” to the troops. When he finishes they are ready for battle. He is able to motivate and enlist them by sharing that God’s fingerprints are all over this vision, evidenced by the great answers to prayer and the generous offer of the king.

Freedom in the New Testament

A great post over at The Institute for Faith Work and Economics by Art Lindsley. He begins:

The predominant note of the New Testament is not political freedom but freedom in Christ from bondage to sin, the Law, Satan, the old man, and death.

It is not that political freedom or freedom from slavery was unimportant, but that there was an even deeper bondage that had to be overcome first of all. With the Greeks, the problem was with the mind, but in the New Testament, the problem was the bondage of the will. The problem is that even if you were politically free, you could still be in bondage.

I like how he doesn’t downplay the importance of political freedom, but rather points out that there is something even more important. This is a good balance — it is not necessary to look down on good things in order to affirm the best thing. That is a helpful, holistic perspective.

Read the whole thing.

6 Lessons from What’s Best Next

I really enjoyed this review of What’s Best Next by Luke Simmons over at Faithful and Fruitful, a blog dedicated to equipping ministry leaders to be more faithful and fruitful.

He so well captures six key lessons from the book, which I underscore:

  1. The gospel makes productivity about love
  2. Everyday life provides many opportunities for good works that honor God
  3. Know what’s important and put it first
  4. Systems trump intentions
  5. Weekly planning is crucial
  6. Plan your day

Being Gospel-Centered at Work

More and more people are asking today the important question, “how does the gospel relate to my work?”

There is a lot that can be said on this, and for the best treatment out there I recommend Tim Keller’s excellent book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work

But for immediate application, if you are looking for a few simple ways to begin letting the gospel impact your work right now, here are two things that go to the heart of it:

  1. Do your work from acceptance with God, not for acceptance with God. Realize you are fully accepted in Christ apart from anything you do, through faith alone. Hence, you do not have to fall into the grueling race of working to prove yourself or validate your worth.
  2. Do your work for the good of others. Because God accepts us apart from our works, we are free to truly do it for others. This is a simple but radical shift. It means seeing your work as a way of serving and benefitting people, not just a way to make money or accomplish your goals. Do your work truly from love, from a good will toward others, just as everything in the Christian life is to be done from love (1 Corinthians 16:14). This is what it means to be “rendering service with a good will” (Ephesians 6:7).

Can Christians Actually Change Society?

John Stott has one of the best answers to this, in my view. From his article Four Ways Christians Can Influence the World:

If we are pessimists and think we are capable of doing nothing in human society today, I venture to say that we are theologically extremely unbalanced, if not actually heretical and harmful. It’s ludicrous to say Christians can have no influence in society. It’s biblically and historically mistaken. Christianity has had an enormous influence on society down through its long and checkered history. Look at this conclusion of Kenneth Latourette in his seven-volume work on the history of the expansion of Christianity:

No life ever lived on this planet has been so influential in the affairs of men like the life of Jesus Christ. From that brief life and its apparent frustration has flowed a more powerful force for the triumphant waging of man’s long battle than any other ever known by the human race.

By it millions have been lifted from illiteracy and ignorance and have been placed upon the road of growing intellectual freedom and control over the physical environment. It has done more to allay the physical ills of disease and famine than any other impulse known to man. It’s emancipated millions from chattel slavery and millions of others from addiction to vice. It has protected tens of millions in exploitation by their fellows. It’s been the most fruitful source of movement to lessen the horrors of war and to put the relations of men and nations on the basis of justice and of peace.

In other words, can Christianity change society? Of course. We know it can because it already has.