Called to Cultivate: A Gospel Vision for Women and Work – Chelsea Patterson Sobolik

Called to Cultivate: A Gospel Vision for Women and Work by Chelsea Patterson Sobolik
Published by Moody Publishers on October 3, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Leadership, Theology, Work
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Grasping the dignity and significance of women and work.

Women are an integral part in God’s call to work—to create and advance God’s kingdom. But work looks different for each one of us. Whether in the home, with children, or in a professional environment—or some combination of all of these—women are cultivating a world of beauty, truth, and hope. But it’s not easy. We have doubts and dreams … questions and concerns. Chelsea Patterson Sobolik provides a robust theological foundation as she engages with our most pressing questions:

How do I glorify the Lord with my work?
How do I balance work and life?
Is it wrong for me to pursue my career ambitions?
What does it mean to be a Christian in the workplace?
How do I respectfully stand up for myself at work?
How do I discern my calling?

Work, whether it’s professional or in other avenues of society, is an act of cultivation that involves developing something or someone to be better. Even if you don’t receive a paycheck, you’re still working. Caring for children and homes, volunteering in our communities, leading a Bible study, or caring for aging parents is God-given work.

Chelsea faithfully engages with our questions and provides practical rhythms that women can incorporate into their lives to flourish in their work.

I have read three books this year about women and work, and this one is my favorite. Chelsea Patterson Sobolik shares some of her personal journey throughout this book, and she explores important topics and themes that many Christian women will find relevant to their working lives. There are nine chapters, and they cover topics like how our faith should influence our work, what it means to discover your calling, how to handle different work-related challenges, and how to balance meaningful productivity and restorative rest. There is also a chapter about dealing with gender and racial discrimination. Even though I would have loved a deeper dive with some of these topics, this is a great overview of many important issues.

Sobolik reflects on a biblical theology of work, and she explores why women’s vocational work matters for the kingdom of God. Although that isn’t an extensive focus here, readers in environments that tend to downplay or demean women’s work outside the home will appreciate Sobolik’s clear arguments and biblical encouragement. She also does a great job of speaking to women specifically, rather than just sharing generic advice behind a floral cover. Of course, many of her insights and encouragements apply to both sexes, but Sobolik explores some female-specific issues and gives examples all throughout the book that reflect different women’s experiences.

Sobolik shares advice and illustrations that will resonate with female employees and leaders, giving a wonderful variety of examples for part-time and full-time workers, childless women and mothers, remote workers and in-office workers, and women in different types of career fields. Also, even though parts of this book are specific to corporate work, such as the advice about negotiating your salary, Sobolik also applies some of her encouragements to stay-at-home moms. I really appreciate her broad and inclusive focus, and I like how she combines deep spiritual reflections with practical advice for everyday issues.

Called to Cultivate: A Gospel Vision for Women and Work is an excellent book for women of all ages who want to think more deeply about their vocational work. Regardless whether a woman is working as an attorney, a grocery store clerk, or a homeschool mom, there will be advice and examples here that resonate with her, and this book is full of honest, heartfelt encouragement for how to handle spiritual, emotional, and practical issues related to work. I really enjoyed this and highly recommend it.