A Work of Heart

A Work of Heart (Reggie McNeal)

McNeal gleans six themes of the heart from the lives of Moses, David, Paul and Jesus that God appears to frequently use in the development of spiritual leaders. McNeal defines the six themes thusly:

Culture: meeting the world
Call: figuring out why we are here
Community: connecting with others’ hearts
Communion: rehearsing for eternity
Conflict: learning to die so we can live
Commonplace: discovering that the ordinary is extra-ordinary

Each theme presents a useful lens through which to examine how God continues to work in the lives of His servants today.

My one complaint with McNeal would be the minimal treatment given to the theme of “sin” in the lives of biblical characters (Jesus being understandably excepted). We all must continually fight the urges of sin in our walk with God. The study of how biblical leaders deal with their sin can be an encouraging theme for modern-day spiritual leaders.

Why I like this book:

  • Much like Dallas Willard’s Hearing God and The Spirit of the Disciplines, McNeal seeks to help us enter into a posture where we are able to receive God’s work of sanctification in our lives for the good of God’s work in this world.
  • McNeal’s themes form a useful outline to trace God’s hand in the lives of other biblical characters. The theme of “commonplace” is especially comforting to observe in the lives of biblical characters and recognize in my own walk with God.
  • McNeal’s recent (2011) update to this text includes a helpful chapter of questions for leaders to ask in self-examination to be in a posture of receiving God’s sanctifying work in our lives.