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The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

20th June 2013 Christian Books 28 Comments

The Call continues to stand as a classic, reflective work on life’s purpose. Best-selling author Os Guinness goes beyond our surface understanding of God’s call and addresses the fact that God has a specific calling for our individual lives.

Why am I here? What is God’s call in my life? How do I fit God’s call with my own individuality? How should God’s calling affect my career, my plans for the future, my concepts of success? Guinness now helps the reader discover answers to these questions, and more, through a corresponding workbook – perfect for individual or group study.

According to Guinness, “No idea short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose and fulfillment.” With tens of thousands of readers to date, The Call is for all who desire a purposeful, intentional life of faith.

Also availbale in audio format, narrated by Os Guinness.

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

  • 28 responses to "The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life"

  • Jay Yarow
    1:02 on June 21st, 2013
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    More than any book I have read on the subject, The Call recognizes the radical nature of Christianity and challenges and inspires readers to not settle for anything less. Mr. Guinness’ main influences in thinking and writing on the subject are Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Oswald Chambers, and so this book could also have been titled “The Cost of Discipleship” or “My Utmost for His Highest”.

    This book does not give trite how-to’s on what it means to be a follower of Christ, but rather examines the Biblical mandate to surrender ourselves to God’s call in all aspects of our lives: in everything we do, in all that we own, and in who we are, all the time.

    Mr. Guinness has obviously spent years thinking about and studying this subject (including prayerfully considering his own call), so the book is written on a very personal level. Mr. Guinness also peppers each chapter with relevant life stories from historical, literary and artistic figures to illustrate his points and show in what ways “the rubber meets the road”.

    Finally, I appreciate his suggestion to read the book as a devotional – one chapter a day, instead of huge chunks at a time. This ensures enough time for the reader to reflect on the profound points made in each chapter.

    When I finished reading this book, I decided I need to read it every few years. This book should be a classic!

  • Sylvia Carpenter
    2:55 on June 21st, 2013
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    Spiritual formation has become a catchphrase in churches and is gathering as much attention as churches that are `emerging.’ Unfortunately, different people understands spiritual formation differently. To some, it is the practice of spiritual disciplines, to others the introduction of ancient spiritual practices, while in yet other churches, it is adding candles to the church service. James C. Wilhoit is the Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College. He explains that “Christian spiritual formation refers to the intentional communal process of growing in our relationship with God and becoming conformed to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit” (2008, 23).

    The key words of note are Christian, intentional, communal, process, Christ-likeness, and the Holy Spirit. Wilhoit proposes a `curriculum for Christlikeness’ which have the following dimensions (1) receiving, (2) remembering, (3) responding, and (4) relating. Each dimension has a few `community practices’ to achieve it. This curriculum is for community spiritual formation. Receiving is to be open to the grace of God and involve `worship, confession, sacraments, and prayer’ as community practices. Remembering means `tranformational teaching’ leading to knowing that we are part of God’s community. The community practices are `teaching, preaching, evangelism, meditation, spiritual guidance, and small groups’. Responding is in service and involves `discernment, honouring relational commitment, setting aside prejudices, ministries of compassion.’ Relating is living in a faith community and involves `hospitality, handling conflict well, honouring relationships, Sabbath observance, (and) attending to pace of life.’

    The community practices are similar to that of the Christian practices as suggested by Dysktra, Dorothy Bass and Diana Bass (Bass 1997; Bass 2004; Dykstra 2005). Wilhoit recognises that we are all being spiritually formed all the time and that formation through the work of the Holy Spirit occurs before conversion (2008, 27). He builds upon and interacts with Dallas Willard’s work on spiritual formation (1988;1998; 2002). However he did not interact with Willard’s psychosocial transformation of the soul as spiritual formation (2002,38-39).

    Instead, he uses the concept of the `imitation of Christ’ as the means and ends of spiritual formation (Meye 1994). Also, he did not expand on how different this is from discipleship. Growing in Christlikeness through community implied that community is the matrix in which spiritual formation takes place. However, aside from naming the community practices, Wilhoit did not explain how the community become the means of spiritual growth. Are the community practices the only means of spiritual formation? Are there any weightage to the community practices? Are any practices more important than others? Who is to practice these community practices? Does it involve only the pastors, leaders or everyone? It must be recognised that it is unrealistic to expect all the members of the church to practice all the community practices.

    Community practices are also spiritual disciplines practiced by individuals (Foster 1989; Whitney 1991; Tan and Gregg 1997). Whitney has shared on some ways how some of these disciplines can be used for both individual and the church (1996). However both Wilhoit and Whitney has not indicated whether there is a critical level of participation of members of a community before that community becomes a context for spiritual formation. What is this critical level? The weakness of this model based on community practices is the danger of legalism. The Pharisees in the bible epitome legalism in spiritual practices. Though theologian Roy Zuck has written in length on the role of the Holy Spirit and educator Parker Palmer of the importance of the teacher, the danger is real as the community practices become the end rather than the means (Zuck 1984; Palmer 1998). It may become another `church activity.’

    It will have been useful if Wilhoit has explained how his community spiritual formation model can be sustained. Baptist Jeff Woods concludes from his meta-analysis of recent congregational studies done in the United States that there are five factors of influence in a congregation that is spiritually vital. They are (1) a willingness to change, (2) right theological thinking, (3) appropriate organisational metaphors, (4) clarity of purpose, and (4) missional leadership (2003). Wilhoit in his survey of the bible discovered that there are three families of images or metaphor for spiritual formation; nurture, journey and resurrection (2008, 24-25). These organisational metaphors are appropriate as church does matter in spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is not about a lone wanderer but a people journeying together.

  • WW III
    4:53 on June 21st, 2013
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    Some earlier reviews commented on the difficulty of the book’s writing style. Personally, I found it to be mentally and spiritually challenging! I am concerned about how our hurried society has dictated not only how we live, but also how we think. God has given us a brain – we must use it!

    Admittingly, the book is profound. However, when read devotionally ( a chapter a day like “My Utmost For His Highest”), the reader is encouraged to think about what was read and how to apply the chapter to everyday living.

    I personally thought some of Guinness’ better points were:

    1. Be devoted to Jesus instead of your service to Jesus.
    2. Be inner-directed by God than other-directed by the
    opinions of others (what God thinks matters most!).
    3. God calls us to a life of faith.
    4. Deliberate spend time in solitude with God.
    5. Glorify God in the ordinary things of life.
    6. A sense of calling keeps us focused when modern-day
    life threatens to tear us apart.
    7. Taking God’s call seriously means we will pay the
    price of being abused and treated as fools by those
    who do not understand.

    All in all, an excellent read! To use the old saying: “be ready to put on your thinking cap” when reading this one!

  • Come on.
    5:37 on June 21st, 2013
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    I had heard about this book from my mentor. He suggested I read it. This book gives alot of key information about finding out your calling on earth. Its a deep book, so at sometimes you might find yourself reading and getting slight thrown off. Theres a lot of biblical quotes. But overall a great book

  • Steve Kovach
    6:03 on June 21st, 2013
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    “The Call” is one of the first books I’ve read by Os Guinness, and it was well worth it. He poses some interesting and provocative topics, all related to what our purpose in life could be. This is not an easy task, but he poses the question by introducing each chapter with lives of such historical figures as Yehudi Menuhin, Francis of Assisi, Picasso, Andrew Carnegie, and others.

    There are 26 chapters in this book, and the author recommends reading a chapter a day. Of course, if you choose to read more than a chapter a day, you can get a little overload on the thinking process. And this is a Thinking Book. The second half of each chapter then applies the truths to which Mr. Guinness is referring to the Christian’s walk with Christ. He refers to those who follow Christ not as “Christian,” but “Followers of the Way,” which I found to be incredibly refreshing.

    Again, this is not easy reading, but overall, he credits many people with his premise, which is also biblical, and his references to Oswald Chambers’ work is also refreshing. There is a study guide in the back to follow each chapter, and of special interest is the “Entrepreneurs of Life” at the very end of the book.

    A splendid read, indeed, and well worth recommending at the highest level!!

  • Thomas Bordes
    6:23 on June 21st, 2013
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    “The Call,” by, Os Guinness, is another one of those books which offers help to people seeking meaning and purpose to their lives. It’s a fairly literate survey of historical figures caught in the same position trying to answer the question, “who am I, and what shall I do with the life I have?” For all his meandering through biographical examples, Guinness provides, at the end of each chapter, one simple solution, “Listen to Jesus of Nazareth; answer his call.” While that advice is invaluable, it is neither particularly startling nor creatively insightful. Os’s writing is ploddingly pedestrian–more like a survey of history textbook than a compelling, engaging book to lead one out of a wilderness of confusion into clarity of thought and earnestness of purpose. Skip the chapters and employ the recipe. There really is no shortcut, and reading about “how-to” is no substitute for doing: “Listen to Jesus of Nazareth; answer His call!”

  • Art Bell
    10:49 on June 21st, 2013
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    This is a great book for either a daily devotion for personal use or as material for a men’s study group. For either use it gives you considerable material for thought and prayer in directing your life to Christ. As a group study using the study guide included in the back of the book as started questions, you can develop great men’s ministry sessions that holds the attention of the men.

  • Shane Dolby
    13:18 on June 21st, 2013
    Reply to comment

    A pearl of wisodm to be found on almost every page. A sampling:

    “The trouble is that, as a modern people, we have too much to live with and too little to live for.”

    “Escape from a false sense of life-purpose is only liberating if it leads to a true one.”

    “He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes no sense at all — to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set their son on the altar of sacrifice. Then, if men have faith, a new thing comes.”

    “Of course those who heard [Jesus] all had ears; of course they didn’t all hear. Being responsible, we will be held responsible one day if not today. … For while we may debate our freedom to choose, there is no doubt that we are not free NOT to choose.”

  • PratibKh
    14:14 on June 21st, 2013
    Reply to comment

    I have had the unique opportunity to hear the author speak, and his thoughts regarding the supreme nature of God and our opportunities to serve Him completely are as clear in his presentation as they are in this book. The Call draws you into an encouraging discussion of purpose and passion in life that motivates thought and action. There is no guilt attached to the discussion as is usually associated with a book of this type. The author never discourages with abusive “Thou shoulds” and “Thou shoulds not”, but takes the far higher and more ambitious measures of association with a God that loves His creation; blessing each with a wide variety of skills, abilities and desires that are fulfilled only when given back Him for His service; and corroborating these assertions with a review of many biblical and historical figures. Further, he extends the full understanding of calling within the context of a reasonable and thoughtful study of cultural and sociological influences on our calling today–both good and bad. Obviously well-read and cerebral, in my opinion, Mr. Guinness is a highly recommended author and speaker who has written a fantastic book that will reward each reader. His ability to communicate God’s heart for the fulfillment of each man is inspiring and humbling.

  • A Point
    15:57 on June 21st, 2013
    Reply to comment

    The Call is a deep and thought provoking read that has given me more insight into who I am, where I am today in relation to my faith and belief in Jesus Christ, how I compare to others with a clear callings, why the call is critical and hope that I have a calling still waiting to be discovered. It is not a self-help book, rather it is a guide to a journey that will open your eyes to the significant gap between what is means to have a true calling to follow Jesus Christ and the unfortunate state of modern man that tends to see the world through a lens of wealth, comfort, consumerism, sex and technology all of which negate their need for God. It is time to wake up.

  • avlisk
    21:41 on June 21st, 2013
    Reply to comment

    The previous reviews are pretty good. I found the book to be refreshing. A couple extra points:

    The style, making heavy use of quotations and super-condensed stories, can make the reading difficult. But if read in short spurts (devotional manner), this is less of an issue. Each chapter is pretty much self contained and this book should not be read like a novel – too much of a whirlwind to read from cover to cover.

    Guinness is not only a great scholar of history, but he is very keen analyzer. He helps point out how Christian faith/thought has played a huge role in shaping history since the first century, a point that is often overlooked or underemphasized in today’s modern, secular environent.

    I think it is great that he draws on extra-biblical historical figures for examples. There is no shortage of resources for studying Biblical characters. But Christian scholars skilled in both theology and non-theological fields are relatively rare, especially those who can popularize their scholarship. And general history is a great starting point from which to engage non-Christians in thoughtful discussion. How many scientists realize that Newton and Keppler were men of faith who wrote quite a bit on theology?

    I also appreciate Guinness’ criticism of the modern church. It is helpful to attempt to step outside our current environment and view modernity from a historical perspective, and how modernity affects the church. Guinness criticizes Christian ghettos, privatized faith, over-alignment with political parties, among other things. I enjoyed his explanations of the “Protestant Distortion” (over-emphasizing work) and “Catholic Distortion” (falsely elevating the contemplative life).

    If you’re unsure about buying the book, you can read the first few pages and get a very accurate feel for the style and content of the rest of the book.

  • Chris Weber
    0:07 on June 22nd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book came highly recommended, but I was not as impressed. Os shared important theology and what he has to say is certainly worth hearing. However, I didn’t like the he quoted Friedrich Nietzsche more often than the Bible. I almost thought this was Os’s attempt to write a book on Christian theology without quoting the Bible.

    Os could make a great contribution to the average Christian’s understanding of his or her calling from God, but I don’t think this book is going to do it.

  • Andrew E
    1:06 on June 22nd, 2013
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    Os Guiness has captured the essence of the Christian life. It is centered upon the call to live in all ways to the glory of God.

    I highly recommend this book to every Christian. This book will ring true to your heart because it rings true to biblical truth. In an age when there is so much to read that simply does not edify, this book stands at the top of my list of recommended reading!

    I can’t wait to read it again!

  • Anti Googl
    4:54 on June 22nd, 2013
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    I read this book with a bunch of guys and it generated some good discussion on the nature of calling, vocation, and work. At times the book was frustrating because the connections between one chapter and the next were not obvious and didn’t seem to build. It reads more like a collection of essays than a coherent argument, and probably works better as a slowly read devotional than a book to plough through.

    Still, there are some gem chapters. And though I think the book perhaps undervalues the mundane callings in life (how God relates to the day to day), Guinness does cause us to ask a lot of big picture questions (what am I called to do, how has God uniquely made me, how can my gifts best be used for the kingdom).

    Read it if you’re thinking about what to do with your life, or if you’re trying to see your work in light of your ministry.

  • sprugman
    6:42 on June 22nd, 2013
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    “The Call” is the best work – bar none! – about finding one’s calling in life that I have read. It is definitely not one of those workbook-type, step-by-step guides to getting in touch with your “inner being”, nor is it an aptitude or interest survey. It is also not quite correct to say that it is Christian-based. “The Call” goes far beyond being “based” in/on Christianity, showing that Christianity *entails* calling (which for most people, Guinness explicitly states, does NOT mean a call to the ministry, priesthood, or to be a nun, etc.). Therefore the only word of warning that I have is that it will not be helpful for non-Christians.

    I find it highly suggestive that the reviewer who wrote that Guinness is only trying to show off also said that it is a very difficult read. These criticisms taken together make perfect sense if the book is over your head, but I think that very few people will find this to be the case.

    I also recommend Barbara Sher’s “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was” as an adjunct to “The Call”. Sher’s excellent book identifies the various reasons why people may fail to understand their calling or to resist it. Though not written from an explicitly Christian perspective, it is very straightforward and delightfully free of the psycho-pablum that has proven its worthlessness again and again.

  • Steven Godlewski
    8:36 on June 22nd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book is the best one I’ve read yet on spiritual formation. This book has excellent substance and is thoughtful and thought-provoking. The writer has an engaging, easy to read style. I highly recommend it to those who are seeking to understand the nature of spiritual formation in the church today.

  • Flipper
    13:39 on June 22nd, 2013
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    Os made some very good points worth thinking about. He drifted between deep and shallow thoughts. Fairly hard to read. I bought 4 copies, three of them gifts. I was the only one of the four that got through it. At the end, there was no “how to”. It is like telling an investor to buy low and sell high. Okay, how do you do that? Os took that approach with the Call. I would not buy it again, but would try something different.

  • kbvkisvvxhx
    16:09 on June 22nd, 2013
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    After reading other books on purpose, and wanting to learn more about God’s calling for my life, I read this book together with a friend, and found the experience quite educational, spiritually enlightening, and at times surprising.
    The distinction between the Corporate Calling, and the Specific Calling is a great help in understanding our purpose and how it relates to our profession.
    Additionally, the myths of the Catholic churches, and Protestant churches are explored, and help to explain the dissatisfaction in “Religion” that seems to be growing in the world.
    Many references to historic figures, and biblical figures make this a great read. Probably not appropriate for a seeker, but all believers should enjoy this book.

  • getalifefloyd
    16:33 on June 22nd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    If you are looking for a “how-to” book you might be disappointed. Instead, Os Guiness gives us something much deeper, and so much better. He gives us the “Why” of The Call.

    Approaching his subject with the important understanding that all Christians are called by God to serve Him and the Body in some special way Guiness uses stories like a great mural to show how others in Christianity and outside have answered a “call” in their life and found meaning, purpose, joy and left their indelible mark on history.

    What I appreciated so much about the wonderfully written book is that Guiness uses story not only to put call in history but to call us to greater things. The book is not “dumbed down” to the modern reader like so many other Christian books, but instead he woos the reader to do the work of thoughtful reading and consideration.

    The book is laid out so that each chapter is a complete thought and should be digested one a day with questions at the end of each chapter to ponder.

    This book will be especially helpful for people at crossroads of life, career or at important life stages. Thank you Os!!!

  • snrocks
    17:56 on June 22nd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This is a very good practical book on the issues (sin, openness to God, etc) that are of primary importance if we are going to develop a growing relationship to God.

  • Grant Huhn
    19:07 on June 22nd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    The Call is a deep and thought provoking read that has given me more insight into who I am, where I am today in relation to my faith and belief in Jesus Christ, how I compare to others with a clear callings, why the call is critical and hope that I have a calling still waiting to be discovered. It is not a self-help book, rather it is a guide to a journey that will open your eyes to the significant gap between what is means to have a true calling to follow Jesus Christ and the unfortunate state of modern man that tends to see the world through a lens of wealth, comfort, consumerism, sex and technology all of which negate their need for God. It is time to wake up.

  • Moises Reconalla
    21:38 on June 22nd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Os Guinness does an excellent job weaving examples of individual lives and truth in such a way that the reader not only understands God’s call to Himself, but longs to sense and live it. My own copy is dog-eared, underlined and annotated with Scriptural references which obviously served as the springboard for his principles. He spurred me to read more Christian biographies, examine my commitments in light of God’s call and look at the world from God’s perspective. I was truly saddened to reach the end.

  • Off the RIM
    22:33 on June 22nd, 2013
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    What is the ultimate meaning of life? Does each of us have a specific purpose for our lives? If so, how do we find it?

    Many volumes have been written seeking to address these questions, but rarely does an author arrive at any meaningful or definitive answer (apart from Douglas Adams, who wrote that the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything was “42′). In The Call, Os Guiness seeks to help readers explore these questions for themselves in an attempt to learn how to fulfill their deepest desires.

    Guiness argues that individuals do have a specific calling in their lives; a purpose for which they are created and in which they will find meaning and significance. But unlike so many self-help books that propose convoluted schemes to help one determine one’s own purpose, Guiness cuts to the chase from the very beginning. There can be no calling without a Caller. If you want to discover the purpose for your life, you must seek first the Creator who has given you that purpose.

    By the author’s definition, “calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service”. As we seek Jesus Christ and his Kingdom, we discover that he makes claims on our lives that are holistic and exclusive. As Abraham Kuyper famously said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: `Mine!’” This means that there is nothing in our makeup, our character, or our gifting that is there by accident. We are created with a purpose, and that purpose is to bring glory to God. Each of us is uniquely designed to do so in a unique way.

    Each chapter of this book focuses on a different aspect of calling. Reading it is a journey of self-discovery, revealing the path we must take to find and pursue our purpose, as well as the obstacles — both internal and external — which prevent us from reaching it. At every step, the focus is Christ. At the conclusion of each chapter is the directive to “Listen to Jesus of Nazareth; answer his call.” Though there is much in the way of practical wisdom in Guiness’ writing, he constantly reminds us that it is all for naught if we do not listen to the voice of the Caller.

    It should be noted that this book was written for use as a daily devotional. The chapters are quite short, but anyone who picks this up and attempts to read large portions at a time is bound to miss out on the real value of the work. These are thoughts worthy of contemplation, and I found that I needed time to digest each chapter before going on. I also believe the book is particularly well-suited to group discussion. I read through The Call over a period of several months with a reading group, and the conversation and debate sparked by our discussion of the chapters was invaluable. Guiness also references several other works (though his complete lack of foot- or end-notes was quite frustrating) that I have since read, to my benefit.

    This is a book worth checking out, but take your time with it!

  • Leggo my Ego!
    2:39 on June 23rd, 2013
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    I find his writing both deep, provocative, and culturally relevant. I bought an extra copy to give to a friend seeking to make “life decisions.” I beleive he will find it helpful, as I did.

    Worth reading!!!

  • cents plain
    8:17 on June 23rd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Solid stuff, but basic. Makes a good introduction to one unfamiliar with the idea that our lives need to be built around God and not around ourselves.

  • EtsyUser
    10:05 on June 23rd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Os Guinness provides the reader a broad spectrum of how finding and fulfiling the central purpose of our life is possible.

    He provides us with a good definition of Calling. “Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service. (1)”

    Why Calling is important and urgent. “The notion of calling, or vocation, is vital to each of us because it touches on the modern search for a basis for individual identity and an understanding of humanness itself. (3)”

    Guides on our search for the Call. “Words are the deepest, fullest expression is which God now discloses himself to us, beginning with his calling us. So it is in listening to him, trusting him, and to obeying him when he calls that we “let God be God” in all his awe and majesty. (8)”

    How knowing our Calling will transforms ourself and the community we live in. “Calling transforms life so that even the commonplace and menial are invested with the splendor of the ordinary. (22)”

    In short, this book is crucial for those who are keen to know their purpose in life.

  • Tim Landgrebe
    10:40 on June 23rd, 2013
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    This is a good, not great, book about finding your calling. If you are interested in seeking your calling, you should give this one a try. Guinness has solid theology and is a talented writer. However, this one was not one of my favorites. I found it hard to focus on this book as much of it was either basic or repetitive. There is valuable information here, but in my opinion this book did not seem to reach its full potential.

  • geography
    13:39 on June 23rd, 2013
    Reply to comment

    It is not uncommon to hear Christians refer to their vocational calling, or to hear of things like a Biblical work ethic, but surprisingly little has been written about what work individuals are called to in their lives. Os Guinness, an Irish social critic and Christian writer, who lives in northern Virginia, has written a wonderful book, more than accessible to general audiences, that explores meaning in life. In this case, meaning for Guinness is not something self-directed, but something one is called to from God, as a maker directs and leads his created beings.

    This book, at nearly 250 pages, is probably best read a chapter a day or so; because it is as much a meditation on calling, as it is a directed narrative for the reader to study. The reason for this method becomes obvious, as Guinness wants the reader to join with him and more importantly, with the God who created them, in thinking and working out daily what it means to have meaning and calling in whatever the reader has, is and will do in life. As such, this most definitely is not a self-help book, or a list of things to do. It is a meditation on how to live and what the good life looks like. There is a tension between life as a Christian believer and as someone living in a world with different expectations, and Guinness encourages thought, that as people live with these tensions, that the remember their first calling.

    Guinness chapters follow a pattern of a narrative of a historical story, even from his family’s Guinness Irish heritage, where he then makes points that build on the story for the sake of the reader to ponder and act on their place in God’s world. He is at his strongest when he encourages readers to develop an awareness of the difference between the certainty of a call and the mystery of calling in life; and he carefully evaluates the seeming tight line between a spiritual work and a day to day, secular work. Mystery, gratitude, patience and understanding the reader’s place in the world are vital things that Guinness wants the reader to dwell on. If there is a major theme of the book, it is that the reader is to live and work for an audience of one in life, the God who made them; and because of that audience much of the meaning soon will follow.

    For Guinness, the path of calling is God to meaning to call to callings, otherwise life is described as mere drudgery work, and empty in its results. As a work of meditation and thinking, the reader should be encouraged and challenged to evaluate their lives and occupations in light of their audience of one. This is not a definitive work on vocational callings, and it has little in the way of direct answers for life in the post modern world. But what it will do, is to encourage the reader to think of the first things of life and dwell in those, for the eventual sake of their individual callings. Fewer things probably occupy people more than what they are about in their work. Guinness calls the reader to consider a higher view of their occupations as callings, given meaning by a creator, who wants us to interact with him in the midst of what he made us for.

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