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March 04, 2007

The Gift of Work


I heard a sermon this morning called “Jesus & Your Job” by Nancy Ortberg of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.

This is a wonderful example of a powerful message delivered in a powerful way. It contains an excellent description of what makes good leaders and how to derive the maximum value from one’s work. I doubt that you can spend twenty minutes in much better ways than listening to or watching this sermon.


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» Thanks God, it's Monday ! from FiberGeneration
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Found this post (The Gift of Work) today from Guy Kawasaki. The link he provides is wonderful. Whether you're a follower of Christ or something else, you'll gain tremendous insight from Nancy Ortberg. I appreciated, especially, her references to creating [Read More]

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Guy Kawasaki blogged the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church sermon, Jesus & Your Job by Nancy Ortberg, delivered just this past Sunday. The sermon goes right along with the things we like to discuss here at InsideWork. [Read More]

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Hi Guy,
Thanks for the link-- although it does appear that it is no longer working (or directing straight to the sermon.)
I also wanted to thank you for your holistic approach to business and entrepreneurship. What I mean is, that you're not wanting to dichotomize between who you are, what the world is, and what it is you do and business does. I'm going to start a blog, soon, that talks about the POINT of business – ie, what is business there for? To make money? Or to change the world? The answer, I believe, is to make money TO change the world. The social responsibility of business is not to give to charity... but to stop charities by helping people make money for themselves. THAT's the point. Charities should become a thing of the past, if we all recognised what business could actually do in this world...
Well, I'm going off on a tangent. But thanks, once again, for your holistic approach. I personally believe that Christ came to teach us how to change the world (something he called “Kingdom”) and not just how to be better people and avoid hell... I can really appreciate it when people have the guts not to dichotomize between spirituality and business, and the world around us, but to simply be who they are.

Along these same thoughts, Pastor Francis Chan presents an even more convicting message on this. Check out "A New Attitude Towards Authority, part 3" - the core of the message begins about 12 minutes in.
http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/index.php in the media section.

I must gently disagree: since culture in this sense probably means "everything human beings do," there is no separating it from the deepest beliefs of human beings - what Christians believe cannot somehow be separated from the rest of their lives. If Christians believe "God's word," they are kind of obliged to consider its significance for all areas of their lives, including work, including in particular business, and including even more particularly, marketing.

Keep up the good work and always be willing to discuss how your faith interacts with your day job.
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Thanks Guy and thanks to Nancy Ortberg and the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church!

I've been meaning to listen this message for over a week now but just kept it aside for days onwards.

This message is such a blessing!

Great post Guy!

People forget that Jesus was a man who lived and breathed. Whether you believe in his divine nature has little to do with acknowledging the model he portrays of a servant leader. He is the greatest example of a "leader" we have; he lived a life worth imitating.

Guy, thanks for this link. It is so easy to become a curmudgeon at work. I see believers do it all the time, and yet they claim to have joy. Good thoughts to remember. I am linking to the sermon from my blog as well. Thanks again.

Religion is easy to accept or reject. It is just like politics and allegiance to a sports team. What is difficult is to take the leadership ethic that Nancy Ortberg presents and live it out. This topic would make a good 360 evaluation. Does the leader of your organization know your name and the names of your children? Is he or she a servant who lends dignity to each employee? Do you feel appreciated and appropriately recognized for the work you do? These kind of questions reveal not only the character of the person as a leader, but also whether their religious faith or lack of makes a difference in how they live . I doubt many people are up to this level of scrutiny. However, I suggest, this is what she is pointing us to see.
Thanks for posting this Guy.

You asked if I had seen the clip. I started watching but the terminology, the code was more foreign to me than French is.

This language and culture is very foreign, it requires study to understand it and as such it was watching in wonder.




Did you only watch the first few minutes? Please try watching the whole thing and then judge it.


Thanks for the post, Guy. The video seemed like an inspirational leadership talk. But, perhaps for brevity, she completely overlooked something. That something is more important than being a good leader and communicator at work. That's because it can twist those values to unfortunate ends.

That thing she overlooked is of course, ensuring your job is ethically or morally positive.

In Good to great, the author talks about executives at Philip Morris having a "love affair" with their jobs. Inspiring and supporting one another as they helped manipulate kids and others to become addicted to a deadly habit.

Great leadership, terrible goals.

I think it's important to first make sure your job is indeed valuable, before you feel too good about it.

As a senior manager responsible for 140 employees, I thought the message was truly outstanding. I will be humbled as I try to apply these principles at work.
I can understand people's concern over faith as it relates to their relationship with God, but I don't understand people's concerns with this message as it relates to our relationships with our fellow men/women. If we truly applied Nancy's message to our work, we would change the world in a remarkable way.
Keep changing the world.
(Your Badger Hockey Buddy)



Thanks! Glad that you liked it. Some people commented about it before they watched it. This was the root cause of most of the negative comments.



Speaking on behalf of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, I wanted to thank all of you for your patience these past couple of days as we re-uploaded the sermon. The issue was not bandwidth (though it is one of our fastest downloaded/viewed sermons ever) but a certain movie clip which would have violated copyright had we continued to host that version of the sermon. The new version of the sermon is legal, and will hopefully continue to create great thoughtfulness, debate, and insightful conversation.

Great sermon, Guy - thanks for highlighting her message! It brought to mind the recent movie I just saw - Amazing Grace. The film provides a beautiful portrait of William Wilberforce, who managed to pull off this connection between faith and work to the benefit of his country.


Brian Yamabe writes "that's what you get when you mix God's word and the culture; Confusion and misunderstanding of the purpose and meaning of Christianity." I must gently disagree: since culture in this sense probably means "everything human beings do," there is no separating it from the deepest beliefs of human beings - what Christians believe cannot somehow be separated from the rest of their lives. If Christians believe "God's word," they are kind of obliged to consider its significance for all areas of their lives, including work, including in particular business, and including even more particularly, marketing. The best we can hope for is that Christians try and communicate the connections they see between God's word and the various aspects of culture with a generous spirit, a civil manner, and with the common good of all their neighbours (Christian and non-Christian) in mind. From what I have seen on this blog, Guy Kawasaki embodies such generosity, civility, and public-mindedness.

It's obvious this will be one of your most commented on posts Guy. Although there is a remnant that was a wee bit put off by the "spiritual api" be heartened that the many, including your's truly, THOROUGHLY enjoyed this sermon and immediately zipped it off like Christmas joy to my contact list.

Nice one Guy! I applaud you for this post. I continue to search for my voice and purpose as a leader, and this sermon reaffirmed things that I know, and enables me to go even deeper in such a simple way. Thanks for sharing.

okay marc, good point, the title of the blog sort of justifies the posting...

so how about simple accomodation: add a category for "religious/spiritual" (or a tag) so that posts might be easily sorted that way...?

Sharing good things is how to change the world for the good. So, I applaud you for having the strength to share such good material on such a volatile subject.

Detractors may say what they will but, I say, "Thank you!"

"Job well done, good and faithful servant."


Guy - Thanks for posting this, and I agree 100% with what Nancy is saying. It's always a great reminder that as Christians are not called to lead, but to serve. I was lucky enough to work for the first 6 years of my career for someone like the doctor that she talks about...he knew the entire company by name and made sure to thank them for their hard work. As I'm guessing you have 1001 books that you are recommended, consider this 1002. If you haven't read it already, you should read "In the Name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen. Henri tends to be a less well known author, but his books hit home hard. It's an easy read, can be done in a day...or a sitting if you want an afternoon at your local favorite coffee shop. I've committed to read it at least one per year becuase it keeps me honest. I think the big thought of the book is fighting the desire to be relevant in the eye of the world, and to instead focus on serving others. He talks about how in today's world, leaders are supposed to lead, servants are supposed to server, and how we make sure to not get the two mixed up.

Anyway thanks for this. I needed it, as I just today had a situation where I could have been more encouraging.

Guy -

Thanks for posting this. My husband and I listened together and were both encouraged - what a great message. I like her point that "meaning" is something we create for ourselves and others in our work. More on that here: http://careerencouragement.typepad.com/the_career_encouragement_/2007/01/in_the_past_dec.html


That was great.

Religion may be a hot button issue for some, for me it is a big turn off. If there is a God, why is it that people can not agree to what he said, to what book it is that provides the "Truth". Why are there so many THE truths?

Really religion, is like adverts, you are only interested when you are buying.




Did you watch the video?


Great link, Guy! As I move into a position of more leadership in my company, those principles are going to come in handy.

I really love what she said about faith at work being more than lunchtime Bible studies and evangelizing co-workers. I grew up thinking that was the full expression of faith + work.

As recent college graduate, I have been fortunate to find a job with a company that helps people think about how to integrate Biblical values into their whole lives, especially in business. Check us out at www.insidework.net

Christianity is not about "rules for better living" or "how to live so you won't go to hell" and it's certainly not about marketing or leadership. It's about our corruption/sin and the Savior's death at the cross.

You're confused, sir. Christianity is about following Christ. And what did Jesus do? He followed the Commandments. God is still speaking and the message hasn't changed, no matter how much hate-filled fundamentalists try to pervert it.

It is true from Genesis that work is a gift from God

Genesis is, like much of the bible, a history - it's descriptive, not prescriptive. God's gave us work in Exodus 20:9 and Deuteronomy 5:13: the ten commandments.

God is the only one allowed to define sin, and he did it in the commandments. The rest of the Bible was written by man, not God.

Inspired by God? Sure, but all books are. The rest of the bible is like the IRS manual or the Joy of Cooking: if you violate the rules, you may end up with a frozen bank account or a fallen merangue, but not eternal damnation.

Jesus marketed God. We should, too.

I'm waiting for the "sermon" to come back online, so I'm commenting in the dark, but from the previous comments I felt I needed to respond. If the points you take away from a sermon are on leadership and marketing then the sermon is an utter failure. Christianity is not about "rules for better living" or "how to live so you won't go to hell" and it's certainly not about marketing or leadership. It's about our corruption/sin and the Savior's death at the cross.

I'm sure that offended almost everyone and others are thinking that this is not appropriate for a non-religious blog, but that's what you get when you mix God's word and the culture; Confusion and misunderstanding of the purpose and meaning of Christianity. It is true from Genesis that work is a gift from God (Adams job was to name the animals), but a good sermon is unlikely make it to a blog primarily about marketing and leadership.

To Dave : You wrote : " please, stick to the subjects and themes that are relevant to your readership ". You may want to take a look at the name of Guy's blog : " How to Change the World ". Changing the World also go through considering important / critical issues from a spiritual perspective - which include religion(s), no matter the religion per se (for instance, I believe in The Force ;-)

However, the sermon subject of this thread can be heard/watched/read at different levels. For instance, you can listen to it as a great marketing pitch. Which is one of the core topics of Guy's blog, right ?


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