A book I’ve been looking for

Over a year ago, I started searching for Catholic business resources, specifically books. I found seven, but I felt like there was something missing. Something current, for one thing.

My husband suggested I pitch an idea or two to write such a book. I shook my head and gave him a few reasons why that wouldn’t be feasible for the publisher or for me (platform, anyone?). I also admitted that my heart wasn’t in writing such a book. It was in reading it.

It was a delight then, to have my review shelf sprout not one, but TWO, Catholic business books recently. (I wrote about the other one, The Catholic Briefcase, by Randy Hain, a while back.)

The book is one that I enjoyed immensely: Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck, by Kevin Lowry.

(Kevin was around here quite a bit last week: focusing on WOMB as part of Looking Closer at the Hail Mary, answering my questions in 140 characters or less, and reviewing my book.)

Yes, but does it apply to ME?

Working from home, juggling small children, writing, and doing laundry and dishes and other such makes me sometimes wonder if there’s any point to reading business books.

Yes, I’m still interested, but shouldn’t I focus on my faith life?

My reading time is so limited, shouldn’t I read the novels and fiction I long for?

There’s usually nothing new or life-changing in the business books, and I can’t help but be cynical about many of the premises: is there any point?

The answer was on page one of Faith at Work:

My goal in writing this book is to encourage you along the path of conversion. Whether you are a CEO, a homemaker, a clerk, a teacher, or a laborer, I want you to think about your work just a little bit differently. Work is an opportunity, not only to earn a living but also to live your faith in its fullness. The only way this is possible is to completely integrate your faith and your work.

Making it real

This book is high on practical advice, even as it doesn’t compromise the high ideals. After each chapter, there are action steps that you can read and ignore or attempt. There are questions for reflection that are low on the eye-rolling touchy-feely stuff and high on the “examine yourself and make a tiny step RIGHT NOW” element.

We all work, period.

I love the fact that Lowry acknowledges the work of everyone–and not just in the introduction. The fact is, we all work. Even if you’re blessed to have your work look a lot like play to the rest of the world (guilty), it’s still work.

Our work is from God–or it can be. It can be for God, too, no matter where or how or when we work. We can bless it and use it to achieve holiness (or get closer, anyway).

Humility, gratitude, patience, oh my!

Through insightful and humorous anecdotes from his years of work and home life, Lowry weaves a few lessons that always seem to hit me close to home. In fact, having a spirit of humility, gratitude, and patience seems about as possible to me most days as climbing the big oak tree in the back yard.

It takes humility to be a team player, and what team is closer to home than the one that begins in your own home? Without gratitude, you miss a lot of beauty in life, but it requires you to look beyond yourself. Patience might seem impossible to some of us (me), but when it comes right down to it, patience is about trusting God.

Faith is inseparable from work.

I knew that, I know I did. Faith at Work, though, reminded me that it doesn’t have to be shoved down anyone’s throat, it doesn’t have to be un-fun, and it doesn’t have to be old news. The beauty of our faith is part and parcel of everything we do, who we are, how we live. Lowry gives us all a resource for being more intentional with our efforts.

Want a copy of your own?

I happen to have a copy here on my desk that you could own. Leave a comment by Friday, May 25 at midnight PST with the biggest work challenge you face, and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll notify the winner sometime next weekend.

There are more Quick Takes, just as there are every week, at Conversion Diary.