THE SACRED MEANING OF EVERYDAY WORK
By Robert H. Tribken
Your faith or spirituality can help you find a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in your work
The Sacred Meaning of Everyday Work will help readers think about the meaning and purpose of their work, especially in light of the challenges and opportunities they face.
The author offers practical insights from multiple sources, including the Bible, contemporary research, and experience in business. He invites you to consider these in light of your own faith or spirituality and your own work experience.
These insights extend to both positive and negative aspects of work, such as stress, work-related burnout, interpersonal conflict, the development of character strengths (courage, integrity, hope, compassion, resilience, prudence, and humility), and spiritual dimensions of leadership. The book also explores a broad range of spiritual practices that can help us stay spiritually connected during the workday.
Kindle/ebook $9.99, Paperback $18.49.
Some of the topics discussed in the book:
- The deep resources of our faith or spirituality can help us find the deeper meaning and purpose of our everyday work.
- Cultivating character strengths like courage, integrity, and compassion that we need to lead others in a time of uncertainty.
- What the Bible actually says about work’s positive value and contribution to human flourishing.
- Short spiritual practices that can be done during the workday and that can help us relax, turn our attention toward God, and focus on the work at hand.
- Ways to face and overcome work-related problems like stress, burnout, and interpersonal conflict.
- How the values we bring to our work can encourage the teamwork essential for success.
- Leadership can have a spiritual dimension; understanding this will help our organizations work toward a better future.
From the Introduction:
Many of us have a deep, intuitive desire to connect with something deeper than ourselves; while some might use different words, for many this means a deeper awareness of God and the divine mystery.
And we have a corresponding desire to allow this awareness, however we understand it, to inspire us as we live our lives and work with a renewed desire to make a positive contribution to the greater good and the well-being of other people.
We might not be aware of these desires for much of our lives, but from time to time they seem to emerge into our consciousness. And I believe they can still have a powerful effect even when they remain hidden in our subconscious.
When we are aware of these desires and express them through our work, it takes on new meaning—we might call this its sacred meaning.
This involves who we are at the core of our being, how we relate to God and the great mystery, and how our work contributes to the well-being of others. It involves the biblical concept of shalom, or human flourishing, and how we deal with things that get in the way, especially sin, pervasive evil, and catastrophic misfortune. And it can involve spiritual practices that deepen our awareness of God as we work and follow our path of growth.
In a time of crisis, whether caused by economic difficulty or other factors, understanding the deeper meaning of our work can help us act with more courage and resilience. It can help us handle the challenges associated with being out of work when we are unemployed. And it can help us keep our spirit of enterprise and optimism as we overcome obstacles and seek new opportunities.
What readers are saying:
The author addresses the human need for purpose and to “connect with something deeper than ourselves”, and does so in a way that offers new insights for our consideration. The result is a book that can help us think through the deeper meaning of work and business and connect these with our own faith or spirituality. . . I HIGHLY recommend buying this book.
What an amazing book. I am so glad I found this. A “manual” for people like me, suffering from burnout syndrome and busyness. The author shows how to reconnect with your true self and what it really means to be human. . . I can highly recommend this wonderful book.
It has been so easy to leave my faith at home when I arrive at work. Early on, The Sacred Meaning of Everyday Work poses this question, what would it mean to more fully incorporate our spiritual selves into our work. The book has expanded my faith and actions in the workplace. I wish this guide was available when I began my career!
The book is clear and practical with input from scripture, philosophers, psychologists and researchers. It emphasizes that our purpose, identity and potential may be fully realized in our work which then brings out our best in the rest of our lives. The Sacred Meaning of Everyday Work expanded my concept of Shalom which the author equates with a “holistic, multidimensional flourishing that involves the spiritual, economic, relational, societal, psychological and work related aspects of our lives.” As intended, The Sacred Meaning of Everyday Work has brought sacred meaning to my work and on to all aspects of my everyday life.
Throughout the book the author smoothly weaves personal business experiences and his views with current research findings, as well as biblical stories, which kept my interest and made the reading enjoyable. Almost every time I put the book down it left me with thoughts to ponder and a smile.. . . This was my best read of the year.
Mr. Tribken has written both an educational and practical text, walking the fine line be scholarship and spirituality. But what makes his writing so enjoyable is its inherent humility, keeping exhortations and criticisms to a minimum. And to boot, his writing is extremely clear and concise. Highly recommended!
Tribken’s well researched and thought provoking work resonated completely with my desire live an integrated life in which I don’t have to turn off my spirituality during the 50% of my awake time while working. While written largely from a Christian perspective – Tribken’s focus on expressing your own spirituality, however you do that moves beyond organized religion, tapping into something deeper and globally applicable.
A thought-provoking book for all. Very well written. Enlightening with many lightbulb moments. This would be a great recommendation for companies to read together — employer & employee.
A high value read for anyone of any faith that wants to increase spirituality, especially in relation to work.
Table of Contents
Reconnecting Spirituality and Our Work Lives
The Challenge of Integration
What To Expect From This Book
Chapter One: Genesis – Human Purpose, Dignity, and Potential
Insights From the First Great Creation Story – Genesis 1
Humans as Co-Creators?
Our Inherent Dignity and Agency
Chapter Two: Flourishing in the Workplace
Shalom and Flourishing in the Bible
Contemporary Work-Related Research
Our Work as Service to Others
Chapter Postscript: The Alleviation of Poverty in the Bible
Chapter Three: What Goes Wrong – Sin and Alienation
Sin and Harmful Actions in the Workplace
The Story of Cain as an Example
A Story of Greed and Excessive Self-Concern
Temptation and the Downward Cycle
Restoring Shalom and Relationships After Sin
Chapter Four: What Goes Wrong – Misfortune and Adversity
Failure and Setbacks
Chapter Five: Cultivating Character Strengths
Collaboration and the Values We Bring to Our Work
A Spiritual Connection?
Chapter Six: Spiritual Practices for Your Workday
Thoughts on Prayer
Examples of Short Spiritual Practices for Your Workday
Reflecting Upon Our Work – The Prayer of Examen
The Sabbath as a Spiritual Practice
Chapter Seven: Can Your Work Be Your Calling?
What Do We Mean by Calling?
Expressing Our True Self
Benefits of a Calling
Implications for the Organization
What If My Work Cannot Be My Calling?
How Do We Develop a Calling?
Chapter Eight: Spiritual Dimensions of Leadership
The Inner Life of Leaders
The Shalomic Organization
Appendix A: Work in the Bible
Appendix B: Work in the Twenty-First Century
Appendix C: Spirituality and the State of Flow
Appendix D: The Opportunity for Churches
Name and Subject Index
About the Author
Robert Tribken has been in business for more than four decades and is the founder of several businesses. Along the way, he has had to deal with many of the most difficult issues people face in their work lives.
Over the years, Tribken became interested in the connection between faith, spirituality, and work. Several decades spent working in business combined with several years studying theology and becoming acquainted with organized Christianity convinced him that there is a great need to find better ways for churches to minister to people in the vocational aspects of their lives. He launched the Center for Faith and Enterprise to meet this need and help people experience a new sense of purpose, fulfillment, and effectiveness in their work lives.
Tribken’s educational background helps him explore the connections between faith, spirituality, and work. He earned an MBA from The Harvard Business School and an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Currently, Tribken is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation at Fuller. He has also spent considerable time researching positive organizational psychology and has incorporated findings in his writings.
Tribken has led retreats, taught classes, led groups engaged in contemplative practices, and spoken on the subjects of spiritual practices, connecting faith and work, business as a calling, and the role of business in ending poverty. In addition to his work with the CFE, he has been involved with several other non-profit organizations dealing with the connection between faith and work. In past years, he has served as volunteer Chairman of the Board of Partners Worldwide, a board member of the Max DePree Center for Leadership, and an advisor to entrepreneurs.