Russell and Duenes

From the Ivory Tower: Created for Work, by Bob Schultz

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Having taught high school freshmen, juniors and seniors over the last ten years, and now having two sons of my own, I’m keen on books aimed at the spiritual growth and maturity of young men. Bob Schultz’s, Created for Work: Practical Insights for Young Men, is one of the best I’ve come across. Broken down into thirty-four short chapters, it reads like extended reflections on the Proverbs and Jesus’ teachings on work. Schultz gives us a rich breadth of anecdotes and illustrations from his own experience with work in order to instruct and inspire young boys about such important things as diligence, excellence, authority, humility, teachability, integrity, process and perseverance in the arena of work. To take one example from his chapter called “The Plumbline:”

Knowing what’s plumb is essential in building. It’s also important in other jobs. My friends Gary and Will are loggers. Before they fall a tree they need to know which way it leans. A misjudgment can cost hundreds of dollars when the tree falls in an unplanned direction. I remember when one logger fell a tree on the corner of his Izusu Trooper and the time another laid one into bare power lines. Every faller can tell you stories of trees that seemed to lean one way – but fell another. That’s why Will and Gary use a line to determine the lean of a questionable tree before falling it. When they need a plumb line, they’ll make one from the junk they might find in the back of their truck. An old spark plug and a piece of fishing line will do…Knowing what’s plumb is obviously important in building and logging. Yet in every occupation there’s a plumb line that determines whether our affairs are upright before God. By comparing our designs and ideas to a standard of right and wrong, we know how to build our businesses in favor with God and man. (95-96)

Schultz begins with the question: “What is the good of knowing how to read or write if a young man doesn’t have the heart to work, to produce, and to create?” (Introduction) We invest an awful lot of educational energy in making sure our boys can go to a good college, but such mundane things as paying attention to detail, taking pride in your work, doing a job until it’s finished, handling setbacks, not complaining and being grateful for the jobs one has have been pushed to the margins. And then we’re surprised when young boys wander aimlessly through their teenage years and early 20s.

I have often lamented my own experience of work as a boy: my own laziness, lack of curiosity, blindness to others’ needs with which I could have helped and my lack of handy skills around a car or a house; and I don’t think I’m alone in my generation. Shultz’s book provides the kind of everyday lessons and examples that inspire me to work harder with more diligence and excellence even now, and to mentor and guide my students and my sons into the same.

If you’re a man who wants to please Christ in every area of your life, I think you’ll feel the same after reading this book. At less than two-hundred pages, it’s an easy read and will no doubt be a reference book I return to again and again for ideas and reminders. God’s church desperately needs to hear and apply these teachings, for they they are not new, but part of the ancient wisdom found in the pages of Scripture. You may even be inspired to pick up some new skills and expertise. At the least, you’ll have more confidence in the truth that doing challenging, excellent and honest work – at home, at school, and in the workplace – is one of the most faithful things we can do each day. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” (Ecc. 9:10a)

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

May 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Duenes, Work

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