We value continued education at our firm. We have a generous reading program for our staff members. It is a simple incentive for our team to read books and share what they are learning. One of our team members, Jessica Sallee, wrote the following encouraging and challenging reports. We hope that you enjoy them and consider reading the books. Jessica is a blessing to our team!
Is God Calling Me? By Jeff Iorg
This book begins by explaining the concept of your “calling.” When we experience a calling in our life, we are invited into an opportunity. This book is spiritual and focuses mostly on a calling to full-time ministry, however, I believe the concepts can be applied to secular life. A call brings new information. “Whether you call a game or call for the question, you are communicating. So, a call transmits new information.” A call usually brings a new responsibility. “A call means it’s your turn to get involved.” The calling in our life is an inner experience. Only we know what we truly feel called to do. For believers, our calling can seep into every part of our lives and is a matter of the heart. A calling also establishes parameters for our life. When we follow the calling placed on our lives, we tend to do the things that align with that calling. If I was called to be an attorney, it wouldn’t make much sense to go to medical school. Iorg says, “The safest place to be, anywhere in the world, is in the center of God’s call.” I find this quote extremely comforting. I know I am called to love people and love them well and I know I am within that perspective working at Bailey and Oliver.
The next chapter dives into the different types of call experiences. Christians are “called to live differently from people around you and differently from how you lived prior to conversion.” This does not mean every Christian is called to work in full-time ministry, like in a church. Some people feel a general calling in their life. Meaning, you may feel called to help people, so you become a nurse. This type of calling develops slowly throughout your life. Others feel a very specific calling. A calling to become a missionary or knowing you were meant to be an astronaut from when you were a child.
Sometimes, our calling comes from a sudden singular experience. Iorg went to his doctor’s appointment expecting a short routine physical that was required for his insurance. He left knowing he had thyroid cancer. Jeff was a pastor and spent his adult life speaking on stages. The surgery he needed had the chance of destroying his vocal cords. At that moment, he knew the calling on his life had changed. It was no longer about him being an incredible speaker, it was about him honoring God in whatever he chose to do in his life. One moment changed his entire career path. Our calling can also come from the prompting of others. Have you ever had someone speak into your life about the things you were good at? Perhaps, someone told you, you have an eye for detail, and you care for people well, have you thought about going into a job that would allow you to use your talents? This is also why it is so important to tell the people in your life the things you notice about them. Things they do well because maybe they were just waiting for that confirmation before pursuing one of their dreams.
“Many people struggle with hearing or obeying God’s call because they don’t believe they are worthy of being called. Some people struggle with insecurities and low self-esteem which could hinder the opportunities life has for them. Often, the people we least expect are called to do incredible things.” The book goes on to discuss how to discern your calling. Are you truly called to be a zookeeper, or do you just think giraffes are cute? It takes discernment to discover what you are meant to do. If you are stuck choosing between two jobs, which one gives you the most inner peace? Your calling “is an inner experience difficult to quantify.” There will also be people in your life who affirm your decision. When I was choosing a college, my parents were very opinionated about where I should go. Once I finally decided on a school I felt peace about, they were so encouraging and let me know they think I made the right decision.
Although this book is primarily about the call to ministry, I believe the principles can be applied to all our lives. None of us would be here if Frank hadn’t had it in his heart to start this firm. We are each here for different purposes and have different gifts. We all bring different things to the firm and to our clients which makes this such an incredible place to work at.
Don’t Waste Your Life By John Piper
What is the opposite of not wasting your life? “To be successful in a career? To be maximally happy? To accomplish something great?” At the beginning of this book, John Piper talks about his fears of “wasting his life.” He wanted to understand the main thing about life and pursue it. In college, Piper discovered the author C.S. Lewis and spent the next 5-6 years of his life reading his books. C.S. Lewis gave him a sense of realness in things. “He helped me to become alive to life. He made me more alive to beauty.” Essentially, Piper started looking at the mundane things in life as a gift and something that we should be thankful for. Piper knew he was called to a life of full-time ministry and was prepared to live every day following that desire. He became aware of the things that needed discipline every day. He knew the only way to “waste his life” was to follow a different plan than the Lord had for him. When we show up to work each day, we could waste each day by doing nothing or prioritizing things that are unimportant, however, our clients would suffer. So, it is important to recognize what is truly important in your life and how you can live to honor those things daily. Piper quotes Johnathan Edwards and states, “We should have a firm and fixed purpose never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way possible.”
Piper’s way of not wasting his life is by living his life in the Godliest way possible. He begins to study the Bible and is clear that “God created us for his glory.” “We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life.” He also talks about the ways he believes life can be wasted. If you do not care if your life has any meaning and you put so much focus on wanting to be liked, your life can be wasted. Some of us believe we can make an impact on the world separate from religious practices. That is why it is important to self-evaluate. What does it mean to not waste your life? People spend millions of dollars chasing a dream that will never come to fruition. Most of the time, it is a self-serving dream. Imagine what a million dollars could do in this world if you were not focused only on yourself. “Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain.”
Piper talks about the importance of trusting in God’s plan. He explains that having trust in God’s plan gives us the courage to take risks that we would not normally take. “It is simple, trust in Christ—that in him, God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. One of our goals in life should be to become forgiving people. Humans are wired in a way that makes it easier for us to hold onto grudges and disappointments. However, if we cannot forgive someone, once they exit our lives, the relationship could be gone forever. It is not worth it. “We are to forgive as God forgave us. God forgave us in such a way that infinite joy in his fellowship becomes ours.” Forgiveness is something that holds importance in an office setting. If someone if the office makes me angry, and I choose not to forgive them, it hurts the culture of our office. Forgiveness is also something that may help our clients process their awful situations in a different way.
Working in full-time ministry is not the only way we can glorify God in our lives. He agrees that there are “church callings and secular callings” in this world. We are encouraged to “stay in our jobs with God.” The main question he asks is, “How can our lives count for the glory of God in my secular vocation?” It is important that we put our all into whatever job we have. Working hard where God places you is one of the easiest ways to show those around you that you are following His plan. “When you work hard—no matter what your vocation is, you can have a sweet sense of peace at the end of the day.” In life, we will continue having to work. If we can find something we are passionate about and work hard every day, life will be rewarding. I really enjoyed this book from the perspective of someone who has worked in ministry to now, working in a secular job that I love. I have always had a fear that my life would have no real impact or meaning. This book gives great tips on how to “not waste your life” in your everyday life. Once we discover what we are passionate about and why we were created, we can work hard to achieve our goals and rest easy every day knowing we tried.