Coram Deo ~

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What is Your “One Thing”?

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Over the past few years, I’ve read a number of good books about our calling or callings, the latest of which is Master of One: Find and Focus on the Work You Were Created to Do by Jordan Raynor. In some ways, the book reminded me of Jeff Goins’ helpful book The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do. In his book, Raynor uses “our one thing” to mean our calling.
Do you know what your “one vocational thing” is? We often hear people say that they are a “Jack of all trades, master of none”. Perhaps you have said it as well. Raynor tells us that we are often good at a lot of different things, but we aren’t excellent, masterful, or exceptional at any one of them. He tells us that this is the wrong approach. He tells us that we were not created for mediocrity, we were created for mastery. He says that to best glorify God and love others through our vocations, we must do our work with excellence. And we can’t do our most excellent work until we discern the work God has created us to do most exceptionally well, and then, once we’ve found it, focus on becoming a master of that craft. We need to discern the one vocational thing God has called us to in this season of life and work at it with all our hearts. Importantly, Raynor tells us that the purpose of focused, masterful work isn’t for our own glory, but rather to glorify God by reflecting his character of excellence to the world.

But how do we know when we’ve found the one thing the Lord is calling us to do? I’ve talked to many who are at a loss as to what their calling is. Raynor states that if we desire to use our work to glorify God and love our neighbors, we ought to be on a quest to find the work we are most gifted at and focus on doing more and more of that one thing. He tells us that it’s important to understand that your one thing might be very specific or quite broad and that the process of discerning one’s calling can look quite different from person to person.

He suggests three questions to help us choose our one vocational thing:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What gifts has God given me?
  • Where do I have the best opportunity to glorify God and serve others?

Raynor tells us that it is at the intersection of our passions, gifts, and opportunities that we find our calling—our one thing—the work we can choose to do most masterfully well for the glory of God and the good of others. That is similar to what John Maxwell stated in his book Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, when he wrote “Your calling, when you find and embrace it, will result in the merging of your skills, talents, character traits, and experiences.” Another helpful quote on calling is from Frederick Buechner, who wrote “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Raynor states that choosing your vocation is not about choosing between good and bad or right and wrong. It is about choosing between better and best. He tells us that when searching for opportunities that marry our passions and gifts, we ought to choose work that is sustainable, productive, and useful to our neighbors.

If we discover a vocation the Lord has clearly equipped and called us to do with mastery, we shouldn’t settle for doing mediocre work. Instead, we should do our work heartily, as Paul wrote:

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23

Raynor has much more to say about mastery, saying “no” to non-essential work, etc., in his book, which I commend to you. For now, why not give some thought to what your “one thing” is, as this may be a new concept for you. Raynor tells us that we feel God’s pleasure when we know we are doing the work he created us to do. Do you feel God’s pleasure as you do your work?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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