We believe that work in business can be an important faith based calling, with all this means for the sense of mission, purpose, effectiveness, and fulfillment with which we work. Business enterprise, within the context of relatively free markets, produces important value, provides jobs, builds, collaborative community, enables people to improve their lives, and in fact is the primary vehicle by which people work their way out of poverty. This should have important theological significance.
This page contains recommended readings for those who would like to further explore the issues related to business as a calling and includes references to material from several different religiousand non-religious traditions.
By Michael Novak. This is the seminal work on this subject, and is available here. Also, two years ago the C.F.E. sponsored a series of talks by Novak in California; video and summaries are available here.
The late William J. Toth of Seton Hall wrote an extraordinary theological reflection on the entrepreneurial vocation and the deeper significance of the entrepreneur's hope, risk, and service to others. This was originally published as a chapter in Business as a Calling: nterdisciplinary Essays on the Meaning of Business from the Catholic Social Tradition (ed:Michael Naughton and Stephanie Rumpza). Toth's chapter is available for download here.
Rabbi Michael Strassfeld recounts a story of Rabbi Yitzhak of Vorki and Rabbi David of Lelov regarding a baker and the theological importance of work, and then uses this story as a starting point for a h a reflection on work as Avodah (service) and Tikkun Olam (repair of the world). Reprinted from Strassfeld's A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice, available here.
The idea of a person having a calling is usually thought of in theological terms. But Douglas T. Hall and Dawn E. Chandler have written an interesting and useful paper looking at work as a calling from a psychological, and secular, perspective. Abstract and link to fee based content here.
Timothy Dalrymple, in a Patheos blog, offers some good thoughts on vocation and call from a Reformed perspective. A key quote:
"The same God who called us into being calls us as specific individuals to employ the specific dreams and passions and talents he has given us to accomplish specific purposes for the sake of the world and the sake of the kingdom."
Dalrympe's blog post is available here.