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Redeeming the Time: A Christian Approach to Work and Leisure

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Very few works attempt to analyze and apply the biblical principles that relate to work and leisure. Leland Ryken hopes to change that, reframing labor and leisure around God's purposes for a holistic lifestyle. Ryken finds the answers in Scripture and in the rich heritage of theological thinking, while weaving together insights drawn from a wide array of sources. The resul Very few works attempt to analyze and apply the biblical principles that relate to work and leisure. Leland Ryken hopes to change that, reframing labor and leisure around God's purposes for a holistic lifestyle. Ryken finds the answers in Scripture and in the rich heritage of theological thinking, while weaving together insights drawn from a wide array of sources. The result is one of the most informed and practical studies on our day-to-day activities.


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Very few works attempt to analyze and apply the biblical principles that relate to work and leisure. Leland Ryken hopes to change that, reframing labor and leisure around God's purposes for a holistic lifestyle. Ryken finds the answers in Scripture and in the rich heritage of theological thinking, while weaving together insights drawn from a wide array of sources. The resul Very few works attempt to analyze and apply the biblical principles that relate to work and leisure. Leland Ryken hopes to change that, reframing labor and leisure around God's purposes for a holistic lifestyle. Ryken finds the answers in Scripture and in the rich heritage of theological thinking, while weaving together insights drawn from a wide array of sources. The result is one of the most informed and practical studies on our day-to-day activities.

30 review for Redeeming the Time: A Christian Approach to Work and Leisure

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chad Warner

    A somewhat helpful explanation of a Christian view of work and leisure. It's not as Bible-based as I expected. There's a lot about the perspective of the Puritans and modern secular thinkers. Only Part 5 deals significantly with what the Bible says about work and leisure. In a nutshell, the book says that Christians should work and spend time in leisure, and that both should involve godly activities, done to the best of our abilities, for God's glory. This is the sequel to Ryken's Work and Leisu A somewhat helpful explanation of a Christian view of work and leisure. It's not as Bible-based as I expected. There's a lot about the perspective of the Puritans and modern secular thinkers. Only Part 5 deals significantly with what the Bible says about work and leisure. In a nutshell, the book says that Christians should work and spend time in leisure, and that both should involve godly activities, done to the best of our abilities, for God's glory. This is the sequel to Ryken's Work and Leisure in Christian Perspective. He says that for this book he doubled the scope of research and added 4 new chapters. Notes Toward an Understanding of Leisure "Leisure in its ideal sense is not the absence of activity or effort; it is joyous effort in activities that carry their own reward." The Time Famine Between work (obligation) and leisure (freedom) is semileisure: activities which can be work or leisure depending on how we view them. Many spiritual and moral acts fit here, being combined duty and pleasure. The Original Protestant Ethic Any legitimate work, done for God's glory, can please Him. Puritans supported sabbatarian laws to protect workers from employers and themselves; from working 7 days, becoming corrupted by the world, and not having a day to serve God. God at Work and Play 7th Day of Creation and Sabbath show that we can have rest time, and that contemplative and aesthetic forms of leisure (especially related to nature) are allowed. Jesus rested from His earthly work (Matt 6:45-47; Luke 6:12; 9:28). He commanded rest to disciples (Mark 6:30-32; Luke 10:38-42). Work and Play in the Created Order In addition to weekly Sabbath, God gave Israel feast days on which to rest. God made the world more than utilitarian; He made it to be enjoyed (Gen 2:9; Ps 104:15). Work and Play as a Christian Calling There's no biblical evidence that Paul's tentmaking was less pleasing to God than His preaching. Paul defended his tentmaking work and offered it as a model (2 Thess 3:7-9). Believers aren't told to leave lawful occupations (1 Cor 7:17, 20; Luke 3:12-14). How to choose your vocation (and decide whether to stay in it) 1. Consider opportunities job provides to serve God and people. 2. Pursue a vocation that fits your aptitudes and will cause you to feel fulfilled. 3. Follow God's providence; His arrangement of circumstances (opened and closed doors). Jesus spent time in solitude and told disciples to do likewise. All of Life is God's Bible speaks of God's people having many occupations, and presents no hierarchy of vocations in God's eyes. "Any job that serves humanity and in which one can glorify God is a kingdom job." We're stewards of our leisure time, and must not fill it with immoral activities or trivial or shallow ones. Being good stewards of our bodies and emotions means maintaining their health, which leisure can help with. Motives and Goals for Work and Leisure Ps 23 describes sheep experiencing the leisure of green pastures and still waters, implying that we can enjoy leisure. Leisure can foster family relationships, friendships, church fellowship, which are part of Christian life. It can also foster romance (see Song of Sol). Jesus frequently attended dinners and parties (Luke 7:34). A Christian Play Ethic God gives good things to enjoy (Gen 2:9; Ps 16:6, 11; 36:8; 81:2; 133:1; Song of Sol 2:3; 7:6; Prov 5:19; 2:10; 22:18; Mal 3:12). We may enjoy fruit of our labor as gifts from God (Ecc 2:24-26; 3:11-13; 5:18-19). "God is not a celestial Scrooge who hates to see his children enjoy themselves." —Norman Geisler Rule of thumb: time spent on leisure shouldn't exceed nonworking time we give to others (serving family, acquaintances, church, community). Evaluate leisure activities against Phil 4:8 ("… if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy …"). How the Bible Encourages Us to View Time Ecc 3 speaks of time for work and leisure. Ecc 3 "implies that we should find a time for leisure as an acknowledgement of our creaturely limitations. We cannot master life completely. At a certain point we have to let ourselves be mastered by the nonacquisitive and nonutilitatarian." Ecc 9:7-10 endorses work and leisure. Eph 5:16 ("redeeming the time" or "making the most of the time") in context speaks of the quality, not quantity, of time; to be wise about God's will for our use of time, not to cram as much as possible into our allotted time. "We can feel good about ourselves if our work and leisure have been the best of which we are capable, even if we did not accomplish as much as we might have wished."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Micah

    Comprehensive. Nuanced. Thorough. Moderately tedious.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelli Christenberry

    Redeeming the Time by Ryken is not limited to vocation, but includes leisure which, in the author’s opinion should always be discussed in tandem. This book is in a problem/solution format. Problem = the contemporary secular culture, Solution = the Christian response. At the beginning, he laments the lack of Christian thinkers contributing to the conversation and that is why even the Christian community has lost a Christian perspective. The book is well referenced and supported extensively. Greek Redeeming the Time by Ryken is not limited to vocation, but includes leisure which, in the author’s opinion should always be discussed in tandem. This book is in a problem/solution format. Problem = the contemporary secular culture, Solution = the Christian response. At the beginning, he laments the lack of Christian thinkers contributing to the conversation and that is why even the Christian community has lost a Christian perspective. The book is well referenced and supported extensively. Greek and Roman stances on work and leisure are discussed throughout the book as are Scripture references. There are references throughout to familiar titles and works from earlier HEO years – Locke, Chesterton, Moore, Ruskin, Milton… Ch. 3 is subtitled “the time famine”. The technological revolution he proposes (and supports) is that all of our time saving devices and gadgets actually “consume our time instead of freeing it.” He discusses the accelerated pace of life and the semileisure activities we engage in are more obligatory and fall into neither the work or the leisure category. Then he talks of the implications of these things from a practical view and proposes that we end up with too much work and not enough leisure. (Can’t help thinking of Dr. Carroll Smith’s talk on “The Sabbath of Learning”. Dr. Smith spoke of our removing all the “wasted” time for students and filling their days with busyness and that there are now no moments for thinking, processing, learning. There is no Sabbath of Learning where we/our students have time to hear what God has to teach us or speak to us. That has quite an implication for those of us scheduling our student’s educational time. Are we forgetting, in the rush and pressure of the upper years especially, to follow the Charlotte Mason Educational paradigm. Charlotte says time is needed; not just for processing, but for pursuing worthy thoughts and ideas – free time, even for the highschooler. OK, so you can tell from the beginning that this book is resonating with me ).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    In Redeeming the Time: A Christian Approach to Work and Leisure, Ryken argues that God intends work and leisure “to be a divine harmony” and seeks to prove that work and leisure form a complex unity which God has ordained to comprise the Christian life (283). Ryken contends that work and leisure—as divine gifts and callings which entail stewardship and accountability—must be reclaimed from its distinctly secular treatment and structured under the authority of the Bible (7). Framing his treatmen In Redeeming the Time: A Christian Approach to Work and Leisure, Ryken argues that God intends work and leisure “to be a divine harmony” and seeks to prove that work and leisure form a complex unity which God has ordained to comprise the Christian life (283). Ryken contends that work and leisure—as divine gifts and callings which entail stewardship and accountability—must be reclaimed from its distinctly secular treatment and structured under the authority of the Bible (7). Framing his treatment of the subject in a problem-solution format, Ryken integrates “social data with the Christian faith,” positing “Christian solutions to the problems of work and leisure” (8). Ryken’s book Redeeming the Time is well worth the time readers devote to its pages. With a myriad of works written on either work or leisure, Ryken treats work and leisure together, claiming this approach as the “most distinctive feature” of his book (7). With this unique approach, Ryken is able to complete the picture that other books of its kind leave unfinished—that is, how work and leisure unite to form a distinctively Christian life. Redeeming the Time has helped me reevaluate my attitude toward work and leisure and has furnished me with a scriptural framework that makes me marvel at God’s wise infusion of work and leisure in the Christian life. This book is useful for understanding the perspectives of secular society, recognizing the value and seriousness of work and leisure, and capturing the biblical vision for work and leisure in the Christian life. Widely accessible for Christian readers, this book combines an academic approach with a slightly less formal tone, making it a helpful reference for church leaders and members alike. Redeeming the Time is a resource I would recommend for Christians who desire an excellent guide to thinking and living biblical in their work and leisure.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matt Moran

    I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. I heard about this book while reading Matt Perman's excellent "What's Best Next." This book is somewhere in the middle on the popular to academic continuum. Ryken's most basic point is that God has designed humanity to both work and play, so talk about the doctrine of work, vocation, calling, etc. should not be divorced from theological reflection on leisure. Like Perman, Ryken realizes that productivity and time management systems are lacking if they are I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. I heard about this book while reading Matt Perman's excellent "What's Best Next." This book is somewhere in the middle on the popular to academic continuum. Ryken's most basic point is that God has designed humanity to both work and play, so talk about the doctrine of work, vocation, calling, etc. should not be divorced from theological reflection on leisure. Like Perman, Ryken realizes that productivity and time management systems are lacking if they are divorced from a Christian framework. The man loves the Puritans and spills much ink on the misconceptions that moderns have about the Puritans. Kind of tangential to what I thought I was reading this for. Most of this book is not about "redeeming the time" at all, although his final chapter, based on Ecclesiastes 3 is, and it is one of the strongest parts of the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Learned

    This was great. It gave me a lot to think about. Whenever I read Ryken, I realize how stupid I am, but at the same time I feel smarter for having read him. I'll be revisiting this book. This was great. It gave me a lot to think about. Whenever I read Ryken, I realize how stupid I am, but at the same time I feel smarter for having read him. I'll be revisiting this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  8. 4 out of 5

    Will Henry

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike Knox

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric Lazarian

  11. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bob O'bannon

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brad

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Cavanaugh

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  17. 4 out of 5

    RnRFowler

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adam Ross

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Doherty

  20. 5 out of 5

    David West

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lester

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  23. 5 out of 5

    Reid Patton

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mia

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nic Seaborn

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matt Pavlik

  27. 5 out of 5

    Esther Waite

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Young

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

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