Book Review: The Art of Work




“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

What are you spending your life on?

What do you think of when you think of the word “work”?  I know that word brings dread and trepidation for many.  That is definitely NOT the case for me and I sincerely hope that’s not the case for you.  If work seems like a dread for you, The Art of Work by Jeff Goins is a great resource to help you along the path to discovering what God put you on this earth to do.  My hope and my prayer is that I am spending my life for the sake of the gospel on things that will far outlast my footsteps on this earth.  I am extremely passionate about this topic because my calling in life is to serve high school students and their families well.

High School is a time in life where people start to realize what they are good at, what they are passionate about, and how God has gifted them.  Where all of those items collide is at a point called calling.  I’m not sure if that is a real scientific description, but I’ve seen that formula work out time and time again.  I don’t have any thoughts that high school students leave high school with everything all figured out…but I do believe that my calling is to help shine a light on that path for them by pointing them to Jesus and to the truth of His word.  The main reason that God has called me to this is that I am one of those kids that can say that I became a Christian in high school and very soon after…realized that God was placing a call on my life to invest in the hearts and minds of students.  God used both His word and the encouragement of those around me to bring clarity and vision to that calling.

In this book, Goins takes time to share lots of stories..including his own.  He also points to the biblical story of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3 where he realizes that God is calling him to something bigger than he could have ever discovered on his own.  I’ve also blogged about Goins’ other books The In-Between, the stage between now and the next big thing, as well as Wrecked, which talks about when a broken world slams into your comfortable life.  It’s obvious that God has called Goins to a life to a life of helping people navigate the tension of where they are compared with where God wants them to be.  Does that describe where you are right now?  Do yourself a favor and pick up The Art of Work to start some good conversations on the journey towards discovering what God created you to spend your life on for His glory and the good of others.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • Everyone, it seems, is searching for a purpose, for something to satisfy their deepest desires.  I believe that “something” is a calling.
  • Many are called, but few are chosen.  Matthew 22:14
  • What happens when the life you end up living doesn’t look like the one you planned?
  • You don’t “just know” what your calling is.  You must listen for clues along the way, discovering what your life can tell you.  Awareness comes with practice.
  • This means if we want true satisfaction, we have to rise above the pettiness of our own desires and do what is required of us.  A calling comes when we embrace the pain, not avoid it.
  • Pain and suffering, those intimidating obstacles, are not strong enough to keep us from our purpose.  In fact, they can sometimes be the very catalysts for such discoveries.
  • Clarity comes with action.
  • When your time comes, what will you regret not doing?  What will you wish you had more time to do, and what will have seemed trivial?  Think of what you fear losing—those are the things that matter most.
  • When you pursue a calling, you will find a community of supporters to champion you along the way.  It’s not up to you where these people come from or even how to locate them.  You just need to keep your eyes open.  Accidental apprenticeships are all around you, and if you listen to your life you’ll be able to recognize them.
  • Every place you go, every person you meet, every job you have is a chance to gain greater clarity in your self-education.  Life is the classroom, and if you are paying attention, you can recognize the daily lessons available.  Each day is a new page in a textbook you never complete, and as you sit in the student’s seat, you realize the apprenticeship has already begun.
  • “Always do more than is required of you.”  George S. Patton
  • In an era of human history in which we prize comfort above nearly every other virtue, we have overlooked an important truth: comfort never leads to excellence.
  • Rarely do easy and greatness go together.  The art of doing hard things requires an uncommon level of dedication.
  • “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”  Frederick Buechner
  • Successful people and organizations don’t succeed in spite of failure; they succeed because of it.
  • A calling will always lead you to a life that matters.
  • “The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” Robert Greene
  • We are caretakers of our vocations, stewards entrusted with a vision that is bigger than us.  Our responsibility is not to hoard our gifts but to use them in challenging ways so that others can benefit.  In short, your calling is a gift, one that is intended to be given away.  Calling is a conduit for life, allowing us to bring our skills and passions together in a satisfying, meaningful way.
  • Your calling is not a job.  It is your entire life.
  • Work, it seems, was never meant to be something we do just to make a living.  It was meant to be a means of making a difference—in our own lives and in the lives of others.
  • Success isn’t the goal; legacy is.  Ultimately, we are called to call others; we are gifts to be given away.
  • Your calling is not a destination.  It is a journey that doesn’t end until you die.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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