For Katherine Leary Alsdorf—founder of the Center for Faith & Work at Redeemer Church in New York City and co-writer with Timothy Keller of Every Good Endeavor—work was not always her favorite topic. In fact, it was a struggle in her twenties and thirties. She had a few great jobs, and a lot of experience, but she was far from feeling fulfilled. Single and driven, she changed jobs and changed industries time and again but never quite found her “sweet spot.” That’s what directed her, she says, to a crisis that led her to faith: What’s life and work all about? What’s the meaning of life? What’s the meaning of this work we do?
At first she didn’t know she was seeking the Christian faith, but she knew she was seeking more than she had. It was ultimately the message that a fulfilling life doesn’t come from having and getting—it comes from giving—that caught her attention. The idea that God actually cared about what she did with her career—that her work mattered to God—helped draw her into faith. Now, Katherine is sitting down with TCW to advise those of us who may be in the middle of our own career crisis.
What would you say to someone who is having a hard time identifying what it is that she should be doing professionally?
The pain of deciding on a job or a career or a vocation itself is felt by people all over. The Christian faith has a lot to offer in that area. But it’s certainly not a magic bullet. It’s not like, All right, I pray and God’s going to show me exactly what he wants me to do. It requires a lot more knowledge of who God is and who he made us to be than one simple answer.1