Tim Keller speaks at Samford on the wonder of work. (From al.com)
The Rev. Timothy Keller, bestselling author of “The Reason for God” and “Making Sense of God,” meets a lot of high-paid executives from the worlds of finance and entertainment in his New York City church.
But the people working menial jobs and the work they do are just as important, Keller told a crowd gathered to hear him in the Wright Center at Samford University on Tuesday.
“All work that helps people is God’s work,” Keller said.
“A lot of simple jobs help the people around you,” he said. “God is pleased with that.”
Keller founded Redeemer Presbyterian in New York and it now has more than 6,000 in weekly attendance. He spoke at Samford for a conference on Faith and Work sponsored by Beeson Divinity School.
“When you make your work an identity, if you’re successful it goes to your head and if you’re not, it destroys your heart,” Keller said. “It’s far more destructive and more draining than it ought to be.”
All workers should take pride in work well done, Keller said.
“You’re not only pleasing God, you’re doing his work,” he said.
“What is the Christian way to fly a plane – hand out tracts?” Keller said. “I’ll tell you what is the Christian way to do that job – land.”
The recent Wells Fargo scandal, in which millions of accounts were opened for customers without their permission, shows how a workplace without ethical and moral grounding goes astray, Keller said.
“Christians have got to go into those fields” and bring with them “the inner moral compass to resist” unethical business practices, he said.
Corporate executives who enrich themselves by taking outlandish salaries and bonuses are another example of the nation’s moral compass going astray as it abandons Christian teaching and principles, Keller said.
“Christianity will give you a moral compass that will help you resist that,” Keller said. “Christianity gives you a worldview.”
He also advised pastors not to be driven by attendance figures, the amount of offerings and compliments on their preaching.
“How your church does becomes your identity,” Keller said. “It is really seductive.”