Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning talking about the message of his newest book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work. I have not yet read the book, but something Keller said on the show this morning touched on one of the key points I have been making in my recent series of posts on vocation rhetoric. I have argued that we as Christians have been co-opted into the rhetoric and lifestyle of our occupation-centric culture, and the following statement from Keller suggests the harmful consequences of that phenomenon:
…When you make your work your identity, which of course is what we are invited to do in our culture now…you identify with your work, and that means if you are successful it destroys you because it goes to your head. If you are not successful it destroys you because it goes to your heart, and it destroys your self-worth; and what you need with faith is that it gives you an identity that is not in work or accomplishment, and that gives you insulation against the weather changes. So if you are successful you stay humble; if you are not successful you have some ballast…making your work your identity — kind of an idol, to use biblical terminology — is maybe the big sin of New York City.
You can view the whole interview on Morning Joe’s website. I look forward to reading Keller’s book, as the interview sparked my interest and raised many interesting questions in my mind.