The Spiritual Art of Business: Connecting the Daily with the Divine – Barry L. Rowan

The Spiritual Art of Business: Connecting the Daily with the Divine by Barry L. Rowan
Published by IVP on September 5, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Work
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We want the thousands of hours we will work over our lifetime to matter. But how do we know they're really significant? How do we go from being defined by what we do to having our work become an expression of who we are?

There is not a quick fix but a progressive solution: it begins with surrendering our whole lives and then every moment of our lives to God. In The Spiritual Art of Business, "corporate mystic" Barry Rowan invites us to be transformed by God that he might transform the world through us as we begin to see our work as an extension of our faith. He says, "We don't derive meaning from our work; we bring meaning to our work." Relating his extensive past in high-ranking executive roles, Rowan beckons us into a connection with God that will infuse our lives, our offices, and our world with meaning.

With forty short chapters, this is not just a book to be read but instead is an invitation into an experience with God. Here's an opportunity to ponder new perspectives and see business as a chance to serve God by contributing to a better society.

This book features forty reflections on how people can connect their faith and work. Barry L. Rowan shares from his personal journey, explaining how even though he struggled to find purpose and meaning in his business endeavors, after he surrendered himself to God and made God the center of his life, his perspective on his daily work radically changed. Rowan writes from the perspective of a seasoned businessman who has led multiple companies, turned around floundering business, and faced high-profile struggles and failures. Because so much of the book is based in his experience, this will resonate the most with people in business leadership positions, although the general concepts he explores apply more broadly.

Rowan writes about the importance of expressing Christlike character at work, seeing your work through God’s eyes, and recognizing ways that your work can be a channel of blessing to the world. He encourages people to think more deeply about what they are doing, even if they feel like they are just putting numbers in spreadsheets, so that they can see the value that they are creating. He also reflects on how important it is for people to find their identity in who God says they are, not in their business successes or failures. This book can be helpful and encouraging for people who often feel like they aren’t doing anything important, or who feel like second-class Christians in environments that prize vocational ministry and see other forms of work as lesser.

The Spiritual Art of Business: Connecting the Daily with the Divine is full of thoughtful reflections on integrating faith and work, and although I found it repetitive at times, someone can read whatever strikes their fancy at a particular moment without missing anything or feeling confused. The short chapters can be read out of order and at any pace, and this book can be a great encouragement to people who struggle to find meaning in their work, don’t think that God cares about what they are doing, or just want to further reflect on how work can be a sphere for meaningful spiritual formation.