Book Review - Proving Ground: 40 Reflections on Growing Faith at Work

Susan Harris
March 21, 2023

book by Graham Hooper

This timely book, written during COVID lockdown, is an easy to navigate book about living out one’s faith in daily work. Hooper has lived in six different countries and worked in twenty more. He has the experience of not only successful opportunities in leadership but has witnessed the hardship of overworked labourers in 40-degree work situations.

Hooper reminds us that the Bible’s teaching is inclusive and is a message of good news for all. The impressive and honest way in which Hooper writes makes or a very relevant book reflecting on work (whatever that may be). He is open about the struggles that a Christian faces, where one spends more hours in the workplace than at home. He writes that all Christians experience God’s testing in one way or another and that our workplace can be a proving ground for our faith. He writes:

Testing in the Bible comes in three ways:

  • God’s probing and revealing
  • Testing and refining
  • Temptation

With short chapters and many helpful illustrations from his personal working life, this book is a very worthwhile read. It always brings a reflection on what Hooper has learnt from the Bible.

The 40 Reflections on growing faith are divided into five sections:

  • Understanding our motives
  • Living our values
  • Transforming relationships
  • Testing situations
  • Keeping focused…on the Big Picture

Another feature that was challenging but also very helpful, was the two or three questions at the end of each chapter. One example: In what ways is stress a positive in your work? (p 186) These questions could be used in a study group or in a personal quiet time.

Hooper writes that the Bible does not have a concept of having a career. “It focuses more on God’s call and on serving Him and others in response to that call.” (p207) Certainly a challenge for us all.

Overall, this book is a refreshing addition, sometimes with a sense of humour, to the writings on work and faith.

Susan Harris is now retired from the education profession. She has enjoyed a productive and fulfilling working life in schools, while also enjoying a loving home life with husband Roger and, together, parenting 3 daughters.  Susan is now Nanna to 8 grandchildren. One of Susan’s loves has always been reading. Retirement has allowed more time and she has joined a Book Club. She also volunteers at Engage Work Faith and is a member of Rotary.  Reading allows her to experience worlds beyond her own. Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: “We clung to books and to our friends; they reminded us that we had another part to us.”

Photo by Matej:

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