There’s more to modern-day life than holding a job, regardless of the economic climate. Though many people can be successful jobwise, an overwhelming percentage feels empty personally or spiritually – no matter their income, stature or intelligence. There’s a simple reason: work must have purpose beyond the paycheck, or it is pitifully unfulfilling. It doesn’t matter how much money is at stake – if someone doesn’t have a ‘calling’ that goes beyond the job itself, no remuneration will fill the void.
Successful finance executive, father of eight, and convert to Catholicism, Kevin Lowry, shows that finding balance between faith and work, with a healthy dose of purpose sprinkled in, results in the life- satisfaction that eludes so many. Lowry writes and speaks nationwide on topics which intertwine work, finances and faith.
In his book, Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck (Our Sunday Visitor), Lowry shows that work is an opportunity – not an end in itself – to live a belief-system which affects and softens the hearts of others. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a chief executive or a sanitation engineer … in the face of today’s disregard for God and morality, we must use our talents and persona to show the world that God exists, work is honorable, and being a team player is always preferable to self-aggrandizement,” says Lowry.
“Work is a high calling, but we have to realize an even higher calling while we’re at work – that of being authentic representatives of Christ, no matter what situation we find ourselves in,” Lowry says. “That could be our remaining optimistic and faithful despite things going badly, maintaining trust in God even when immediate solutions aren’t clear, being grateful and humble rather than entitlement-minded and ego-centric, and realizing that integrating faith into work and the rest of life is healthy.”
Though it has become trendy lately to demonize success, that’s a misguided perception, too, he says.
“Monetary success doesn’t make anyone greedy any more than poverty makes someone lazy,” says Lowry. “These are attitudes of the heart, and what’s important here is using our gifts – however plentiful or limited – for God’s glory, and doing the best we can with what we’ve been given.”
Faith at Work presents nuts-and-bolts solutions and alternatives using real-life scenarios that most people experience. Putting money-accrual at the top of one’s list causes problems from sun-up to sun-down. Allowing a job or career to tip a life out of balance can be reversed, but it might require simplification in a number of areas, acquiescing to God’s timing, scaling back activities and time-demands, and centering daily priorities around God – instead of squeezing Him in if there’s room.
Will it demand an act of humility when someone feels trampled on or exploited? Yes, sometimes. Will there be times when genuine gratitude should trump a call for entitlement? You bet. Is it worth treating the janitor with the same regard as the company president. Yes, in spades. And how exactly can someone exercise patience, tolerance, forgiveness and empathy at work? Lowry shows how to exemplify those, too.
Each of the book’s 13 chapters also provides practical action-steps for putting the chapter-theme into action, as well as several questions for reflection so readers can do a bit of soul-searching and self-assessment, or provide the basis for group study.
What it all adds up to is this: relationships and how they’re handled are the key to success. And the only thing that keeps someone from careening out of control due to individual emotions, disappointments, ambitions, or crises is faith. True purpose is realized when people use their abilities consistent with their calling, carefully manage the fragile field of relationships they find themselves in, and continually trust in God to help them succeed and achieve His purpose through them.
Several high-ranking endorsements for Faith at Work include:
- “It’s an important reminder that we are called to live our faith at work … keeping Christ at the top of one’s priorities, regardless of the demands of the workplace.”
– J. David Karam, president, Wendy’s International, Inc.
- “…Offers practical guidance to transforming the routine of everyday work into a life-giving participation in bearing witness to the Gospel and our own share in manifesting Christ’s kingdom …this books helps capture the joy of seeing the wonder of God at work all around us in the very things we do – how we live.”
– Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington
- “In our society, faith and work are often presented as things that don’t mix … nothing could be further from the truth….Kevin skillfully shows how we are called to sanctity in and through our work.”
– Tom Monaghan, Founder, Domino’s Pizza, Inc. and Ave Maria University
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