Let’s read Keller (5): Are you known as a Christian at work through guilt, or through grace?

Let's read Keller


If doing the right thing can be hard, doing it for the right reason is often even harder. In this passage from Every Good Endeavor, Keller challenges not just our willingness to be known as a Christian in the workplace, but also the different possible motivations behind that willingness:

If you are merely inspired by an example—you want to be like Esther, or you want to be more like the people the Hispanic pastor said we needed—then your basic motivation is probably guilt. It could be guilt over selfishness, guilt over elitism, even guilt over ungratefulness. And those may be the right place to start! But if guilt is the extent of your motivation, you can be sure it will wear off before long because living in a new way will be hard.

Or, you might get inspired, but overreact. So often I have seen people who have previously kept secret about their faith and who overcompensate and become obnoxious. They decide to be an outspoken, principled person; they will not be like “those closeted Christians.” Yet they haven’t really left the palace because they are still getting their identity from their performance of a “better” kind of Christianity. They have not really changed; they are very self-righteously being more overt.


Esther was able to do what she did merely on the basis of a vague revelation that God is a god of grace. But now we know so much more! She didn’t know God was actually going to come to earth himself and do what she was doing on an infinitely greater scale, at an infinitely greater cost, with infinitely greater benefits to humanity. We now know so much more about his grace, our value to him, and our future. If you see what Jesus Christ has done for you, losing the ultimate palace for you, then you will be able to start to serve God and your neighbor from your place in the palace.

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