Saturday, May 23, 2015

Book Review: The Call

Book title: The Call
Author: Os Guinness
Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1998
Number of pages: 255

Listening to the Caller

Os Guinness
-- photo courtesy of
Justus Martin Photography
“There can be no calling without a Caller.” writes Os Guinness. Are you connected to the Caller? I’m not asking if you are a Christian or if you have a “personal relationship” with Jesus. Guinness believes you can check both of these boxes and not be fully engaged with the Caller.

Many make the mistake thinking that the only way to get God to really love us is to go into "ministry" (i.e. become a pastor or a missionary). You’re doing work or going down a path that someone–maybe everyone–else has told you must go down. For many church, the prescribed path of dedicated Christian maturity is:
●    make a profession of faith
●    learn the basic tenets of the faith
●    volunteer in the church
●    go to Bible college
●    become a leader in the church
●    pursue full-time vocational ministry
●    enter pastoral ministry

This is the prescribed progression of a life of sacrifice and faith. But this path was never prescribed by God. If this is the path you’re going down and you’re not connected to the Caller, you’ll live a life of frustration, futility, and emptiness.

Many folks think that if they simply live a moral life, they’ll walk in the call God has for their lives. Living a moral life is not where one finds purpose.

“The call of our Creator is “the ultimate why” for living, the highest source of purpose in human existence,” writes Guinness. “Nothing short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose.”

Here’s how call is defined:

Primary call
A general call that God makes to all mankind. God wants to have an intimate relationship with each person. He provides a way for humans to know him through Jesus Christ.

Secondary call
How the primary call is manifested in a man's life is his secondary call. We tend to compartmentalize our work from our life with God. We divide into “secular” and “spiritual.” But this is not how God designed us. The secondary call is where the passion is, where a man flourishes in his gifts as he serves others and God. The primary call is anemic without the secondary call. But so many people are stuck living colorless lives as believers.

The secondary call is meant to be an act of worship to the Lord. My daily work is how I connect with God and how I serve him.

Are you trying to figure it out? Are you wondering what God is going to in your life next. Don’t over-think and definitely don’t over-spiritualize it. Be cautious about who you get advice from especially if, in your church culture, people continuously over-spiritualize things with the subtle agenda of making others feel like they’re not measuring up (we church types are notorious for this). That’s the opposite of how God works in your life. You know this, but not very many people in your world will say this to you. This book does. It is one of the most affirming books I’ve ever read and the book I’ve recommended most this past year. Whether you’re in the Valley of Decision or not, get this book. Read it. Mark it up. Refer to it often.

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