That time I called out a pastor from the stage…

When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?...His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. (Isaiah 28:24,26)

I was recently asked to speak to a group of pastors about Redeeming Your Time, my book that examines God’s Word and bestselling time management books for wisdom about how we can be maximally productive for God’s glory.

Before I took the stage, a pastor spoke and passionately called the audience to ignore “secular” business books. The essence of the man’s message was that, “The only book you need is the Good Book.”

When it was my turn to speak, I knew I couldn’t bite my tongue. So I addressed the pastor’s comments head on and said, “We might not ‘need’ these ‘secular’ business books per se. But God in his common grace has given great wisdom to Christians and non-Christians alike and we would be foolish not to learn from them.”

I was expecting somebody to throw a rotten tomato. Thankfully, I got a bunch of “amens” instead. Because the pastors in the audience understood the truth embedded in today’s passage.

Isaiah says that “God instructs” farmers and “teaches” them “the right way.” But notice this: The passage doesn’t say that God instructs only God-fearing farmers. 

As we’ve seen throughout this series, the doctrine of common grace teaches us that God makes it “rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (see Matthew 5:45). He reveals truth to God-fearing farmers and God-hating farmers—to Christian authors and non-Christian ones.

What does that mean for you and me? Here’s the third response to common grace I want you to see in this series: Common grace frees us to learn from and work with Christians and non-Christians alike.

I know Christians who will only work for Christian employers, hire Christian vendors, retain Christian attorneys, and watch films made by Christians. Do you see how common grace destroys that thinking? If not, hear this from the late great Tim Keller: 

Of course, all non-believers have seriously impaired spiritual vision. Yet so many of the gifts God has put in the world are given to nonbelievers….So Christians are free to study the world…in order to know more of God; for as creatures made in His image we can appreciate truth and wisdom wherever we find it.

Amen. So go out and freely and joyfully learn from and work with believers and non-believers alike today, knowing that every true and good gift is ultimately from God!


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