If you have a child in a Christian college or even a teen, you may have heard him/her mention the concept of vocational ministry. In short, vocational ministry is what was practiced by the Apostle Paul and Priscilla and Aquila. They were tent makers and continued to practice their trade as they were also teaching others about God.
The Bible doesn’t give us a lot of details, but one would imagine they met people through their trade. Those relationships gave them opportunities to demonstrate and share their faith as they worked, as well as teaching in their time outside of the “office”.
I love the concept and think it’s great to teach our kids how they can serve others and share their faith through almost any job (assuming the job doesn’t violate any of God’s commands!) they may have now or in the future. So, I was excited when offered the chance to review the book Every Job a Parable by John Van Sloten.
The principle behind the book is great. Jesus did indeed use jobs or job functions common in his day in some of his parables and teachings. Shepherds, fishermen and farming examples were common, as they were the jobs with which many of his listeners were familiar. Many of these occupations allowed the people who had them to use them as ways to serve others, share their faith and/or live out godly commands and principles. I believe the book is trying to point out the various ways the functions of particular modern jobs can also point out godly principles and allow their workers to live out and demonstrate these principles to those they encounter.
I really tried to like this book, but ultimately I just could not. The entire book felt forced. Often points felt as if they were made because they sounded religious and flowery, rather than because they were practical and helpful. By the time I reached the section on religious icons, I felt the purpose of the book was becoming muddled and stretched. It’s not that I necessarily want to nitpick each of his points (although some were interesting), it’s just that I believe the practicality of what the book could have been was lost in the effort to make it “sound” religious.
Having said that, there are many Christians who will read this book and probably love it. (I still would check each point with scripture, though.) If you are a more “practical” Christian, who becomes tired of flowery language and emotionally charged writing, I would skip this one. That’s my basic personality and frankly this book just wore me out within a few chapters.
For those who want an extremely practical book pointing out how they can live and share their faith through their jobs, I will keep searching. For the rest, who may prefer a more theological discussion of the topic, you may find what you are looking for in the pages of this book.
A copy of this book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.