"Faith and Work" - a Sermon by Tim Keller

by Henry Kaestner

I have listened to Tim Keller thousands of times.  Literally. Tim started accompanying me on runs 20 years ago.  He always kept up, and never seemed to break a sweat. I’m not sure Tim made me a faster runner (in fact, I’m sure the opposite….he can’t hold a candle to a good house music track IMO for running negative splits), but I’m sure he has made me a better follower of Christ and since my competitive running days are long gone, I’ll take that trade every day.


This isn’t my favorite sermon of his, (that’s “A Search for Happiness” that I’ll undoubtedly blog about later this year) but it’s in my top 5 and it’s the one that has most shaped the way that I think about my work.  I think it’ll help shape yours.

There is just so much here.  As with any Tim Keller sermon….maybe any sermon, the best is at the end...sometimes I think that the last 10 minutes of sermons are the equivalent to “muffin tops” - the ingenous bakery product that allows you to eat the best of the muffin.  But I strongly encourage you to listen to all of it.

The passage from Scripture is from Isaiah 60, not a place that I’d typically go to to think about work.  I’d expect that Tim’s best sermon on work would come from an unpacking of the Parable of the Talents, or Paul’s repeated admonition that we should work, the mention that God’s work continues to this day (John 5:17), or something standard fare.  But his pick from Isaiah is brilliant. It shows us that we will be working in Heaven and what that will be like.

Some highlights for me include his take on the unique aspects of the Judeo-Christian view on work and how it’s different from other religions.  But his take on the Tower of Babel and why that work was destined to fail because of wrong motives is where he starts to pick up steam.  Never the one to leave out some great cultural references (from Bono to CS Lewis), his go-to in this sermon is John Coltrane, and it’s a great one. See if that moves you the way it moved me.  

Who am I working for today? Me, or God?  Am I really?

Favorite quote: “We believe that the work of our hands will save us.  And we believe it, and we repeat that daily catechism and we sing in that choir until we are exhausted.”

Editor’s note:  Got a favorite sermon that’s informed your entrepreneurial journey? Comment below and let us know!