Book Review: Mastering Monday by John Beckett

Mastering MondayKen Blanchard writes in the Foreword:

We live in a world of either-or dichotomies, and faith and work can seem like polar opposites. But the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’ need not be opponents. Instead, each can shed light on the other… Reading Mastering Monday has brought me real joy. It explains in simple and profound ways how each of us can transform all our moments, be they at work or play, into God-centred, other-centred droplets of delight.

The book is a powerful call to the Christian church to be Christ’s witnesses in the workplace. Drawing on his several years of experience as a Christian leader trying to bring his faith to bear on his own role, John Beckett offers us solid counsel in tackling our own challenges today.

He seeks to address some thorny issues which every believer involved in business has to grapple with:

·   How do I integrate my faith and my work?

·   What is the purpose of business from God’s perspective?

·   How do I measure success?

He begins by giving us a brief account of his own journey from a skeptical MIT-trained engineer to a Christian business leader. Through various tokens of God’s providence, he comes to saving faith in Christ, and his life and mind were forever altered. Then begins a lifetime of seeking to integrate the world of Scriptural truth with the daily life of business.

He calls our attention to several biblical figures who serve as role models on this journey:

  • He points us to Noah who was found by God to be righteous and blameless in a world of whom God had said: ‘every inclination of the thought of man was only evil’ (Gen.6: 5).
  • We see Moses, a model of leadership, who applied sound management principles in leading three  million people from Egypt to the promised land of plenty.
  • David calls us to seek the grace to be humble and to be intimately devoted to God.
  • Daniel is an emblem of faithfulness and integrity at the highest level of government in a world empire.

In the final section of the book, he introduces us to some themes which must form the foundation of a business practice which both glorifies God and honours Christ. He looks at

  • Purpose – When we identify our reason for existence we free ourselves to live purposefully. Our focus is on the one thing needful, and on this we concentrate energy and grace. Without purpose our lives and work become disordered and unfruitful.
  • Values – Values are guideposts that help to keep us on course. More than being mere ethical clichés, they help define what we stand for as a business or as a businessperson.
  • People – Business is about people, whether as employees, customers or suppliers. They must be the priority of every business just as they are God’s priority in Creation and Redemption.
  • Stewardship – All resources – cash, land or skills – are ultimately God’s. We are merely stewards. Therefore it is crucial that we are faithful and responsible in their use for we will give an account to the Owner at the end.
  • Serving – When we serve we model Jesus, who came into the world ‘not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.’

May we receive grace to make our workplace an extension of Christ’s kingdom. Amen.

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