Published by B&H Publishing on June 13, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Work
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God gave His people work to do in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world. Work is not untouched by sin, but it is good, as God allows us to image Him and the way He works through our lives.
Vocation and work are often a charged topic for women - inside or outside the home. Be a homeschool teacher or send your kids to public school? Wash clothes and dishes to the glory of God or work in the corporate world for the same?
In this practical book on the theology of work, read wisdom from women who represent all the realms of where a woman might find herself working and discover:
how to think about calling
how to work from weakness
how to find joy in wise stewardship, no matter the field
how to join the mission of God in both motherhood and childlessness
how to image God in both secular and sacred work
how to manage and work with men
how to grow through conflict
All work is Kingdom work. As women, let's join together in celebrating the good gift of work.
This book collects essays from Christian women about vocational work. Each one is about a different topic, such as the connection between work and bearing God’s image, what it means to be called, and practical considerations for men and women working together. The essays are all thoughtful and well-written, sharing biblical truths and personal reflections that will be relevant to most Christian women. The authors make an effort to speak to women in different life situations, with different chapters and illustrations geared towards working moms, single and/or childless women, and women working after their kids are grown. The authors also come from different professional backgrounds. The book is so general that the application ideas end up being vague, but women can take and apply what is most relevant to them.
Throughout Women & Work, the authors explore biblical concepts like the creation mandate, image-bearing, and stewardship, but this isn’t a deep dive into the theology of work. This is mainly about encouraging women that their work matters, and that God cares about their efforts in the workplace. That’s great, but if someone is looking for a deeper theological perspective on what it means to be a working woman, this might disappoint them. There are female-specific themes related to motherhood, and the chapter about embodiment addresses factors relevant to the female body, but the essays are mostly about foundational truths that apply to men and women, without deeper insight into how they are different in a woman’s life.
Also, even though the writers addresses dynamics for working mothers, their position on moms working outside the home is assumed, not argued. It’s entirely right for the writers to leave matters of conscience up to their readers, but this book could have done more to support moms making counter-cultural decisions in their Christian subcultures, and could have done more to acknowledge women who feel serious reservations about working while their kids are young. A book can’t be all things for all people, but since the marketing talks about how contentious and emotional these decisions can be for women, it surprised me that the authors didn’t dig deeper here.
I liked the chapter about men and women working together, but I have reservations here as well. Like me, the author has had wonderful experiences with her male coworkers, and that’s great. However, since that’s not everyone’s experience, there should have been advice for women dealing with injustice against female employees or ongoing conflict with male coworkers. Also, even though the writer shares helpful advice for dealing with feelings of attraction to a coworker when you and/or they are married, I disagree that you should limit contact with that coworker and avoid talking with them about anything that isn’t work-related. Don’t make an effort to get closer or make things more personal, but if you avoid them and treat them differently, you’ll most likely train your brain that this person is a threat and create a feedback loop of even more unwanted thoughts and feelings.
Women & Work: Bearing God’s Image and Joining in His Mission through our Work shares advice and encouragement for women in different stages of life, and there is a lot of great material here about stewarding our gifts, working to honor God and bless others, and taking our work seriously as something God cares about and has called us to. However, this ended up being so general that I would mainly only recommend it to women who haven’t reach much about work before, or who are new to considering the relationship between faith and vocational work. Everything here seemed pretty basic, and since the authors didn’t delve into female-specific implications as much as they could have, I didn’t get as much out of this as I had hoped.