Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate and Risk by Jordan Raynor. Baker Books. 242 pages. 2017
Jordan Raynor, who also wrote the excellent book Master of One, tells us that God was the first entrepreneur. He brought something out of nothing. He established order out of chaos. He created for the good of others.
This book started out with a set of questions the author had accumulated through years of seeking to more deeply integrate his faith with his work as an entrepreneur and creative. Rather than answering all of those questions himself, he spent about two years posing them to dozens of Christian entrepreneurs through first-person interviews and research. The stories of these men and women are what make up the majority of this book.
The author begins by providing a new definition for the word “entrepreneur”:
“An entrepreneur is anyone who takes a risk to create something new for the good of others.”
He tells us that there is a clear connection between entrepreneurship and creativity. Both require bringing something out of nothing, establishing order out of chaos, and creating something good for others.
The book is a compilation of stories that paint a picture of what it means to be called to create. Some of the people and organizations you will read about are Casper ten Boom, Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Johann Sebastian Bach, J. R. R. Tolkien, Arthur Guinness, In-N-Out Burger, Chick-fil-A, as well as many people that you may not have heard about previously.
The book is organized into four parts:
- Part 1 deals with the issue of “calling”.
- Part 2 examines how following the call to create impacts our motivations for creating, the products we choose to create, and what it looks like to holistically integrate the gospel into our ventures.
- Part 3 deals with the challenges that are unique, or pertain especially, to the Christian entrepreneur.
- Part 4 includes a charge for those who are called to create.
The author has developed a helpful (and free) Called to Create study journal with thought-provoking questions to accompany each chapter and plenty of space for you to take notes.
Among the topics the author addresses in the book are the value of our work, our calling, hustle, discipleship, the purpose of profit, doing our work with excellence, and that what we create today has the potential to live on forever on the new earth.
One of my many takeaways from the book were these three questions entrepreneurs tended to ask when discerning God’s calling on their lives:
- What am I passionate about?
- What gifts has God given me?
- Where do I have the greatest opportunity to love others?
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Our work can only be a calling if someone calls us to it and we work for their sake and not our own.
- The Bible teaches us that work will also be a central component of life in heaven. Contrary to the caricature of heaven being a glorified retirement home, the Bible teaches that we will continue to work for eternity, serving God with our unique gifts.
- All work is meaningful and can be used by God at any time, in any situation, to accomplish his will.
- In order to best glorify our Creator and love others, Christians should do the work we are best at, work that God has equipped us to do exceptionally well.
- Following the call to create means that we no longer work to make a name for ourselves; we work for the glory of the One who has called us.
- There is perhaps no clearer way for Christians to set themselves apart from the world than by prioritizing people over profit and everything else.
- The purpose of profit is not as simple as giving it all away. There are many ways in which God calls us to steward the abundance he blesses us with through our ventures.
- The Bible makes it clear that we will work without the curse forever on the new earth; I think it’s safe to assume that those of us who are called to create will use our entrepreneurial skills to create as an act of worship.
- We work for the One who has called us to create.