In the introduction to Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller observes that “thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person.” So he calls for “a return…to the idea of work as a contribution to the good of all and not merely as a means to one’s own advancement.”
Then he outlines how the current “faith and work movement” is fed by five separate streams.
Three contemporary influences are the ecumenical movement emphasizing work as a means to bring about social justice, the small group movement focusing on working out of spiritual renewal and heart transformation and the revivalist movement that views workplace “as a place to be witness for Jesus.”
Two older influences are the Lutheran view that confers dignity to all work, elevating “the purpose of work from making a living to loving our neighbor and at the same time releas[ing] us from the crushing burden of working primarily to prove ourselves” as well as the Calvinist view that the purpose of work is “to create a culture that honors God and enables people to thrive.”
“Most people…only partaken of one of the theological streams” or have “already been confused by reading or hearing contradictory teaching from different streams.” Yet each stream properly emphasizes a way — though not necessarily the main way — to serve God through work, and he believes these streams, when properly approached, complement one another.