What is your word? What is your calling? What do you strive for? A word cannot fully define us but it can help us capture our calling.

Personal Fact:

I love the word family, because it takes the idea of community and adds love, responsibility and service to make something very special.

Fun Fact:

The word “Deacon” can take on the context of runner, messenger or servant. It has strong meaning within the church. But I like the meaning found at biblehub.com. A servant of the king who advances others interests even at the sacrifice of their own. (http://biblehub.com/greek/1249.htm)

What Is Your Word?:

I really appreciate the Stuff I Learned Podcast and the community around it. Because of all of you and the hosts, past and present, I have learned so much. Because of all of you, I have taken my eyes and thoughts up and out.

When you are called on to write and produce 18 podcasts during a year all about things you’ve learned, it is a challenge! Even before I came on as host, I gave myself the mandate to do one Friday Forum contribution a month. The mandate is what did I learn? I’m grateful because this podcast and the community helped me stop drifting though my life and start being intentional. The old saying is true; we learn the most about something when we have to teach it to others.

Doing this podcast, along with things in my church and my life helped break me out of my drifting. It helped get me re-focused. You all encouraged me to set goals and make efforts to work to see them come pass. I’m so grateful!

So this Fall, I started thinking about my goals, who I am, and who want to be. You all know by now that, I’m a Christian. My relationship with Jesus shapes me. But regardless of if you believe or not, I believe we all have a calling and focus in life. Sometimes that calling can get boiled down to a phrase or even a word.

It is not that that phrase or word is the totality of our existence, but it can give us focus and direction. Let’s say your word is Alaskan. Your goal is to walk that out. You read up on the state and all aspects of life there. You work and train to give yourself the skills, endurance, and strength you need. You have to save to move and be able to afford to live there. You have to buy the supplies you need or save to buy them there. You have to set deadlines of when you are going to move. Once you are there, you have to adapt to things you never knew about. You have to endure the physical, mental and emotional seasons of life. But if you continue on, you can become an Alaskan.

Say your word is teacher. That can be walked out in a ton of ways. You could work in a school, college, or faith based institution. But you could also teach within a business environment. You could also use your teaching calling by blogging or podcasting. To walk out that word, you need to study people and know how they learn. You would need to study learning styles and seek to be proficient in each, so you can help communicate with others. You also need to know your curriculum and message. You are going to need to practice speaking and writing. You are going need some people give you honest feedback. But if you keep moving forward, you can walk out that calling of teacher regardless of the venue. The venue will change over the years, but you will never stop being a teacher.

My word is deacon. I gave you the definition in the fun fact and now you know why. I have two parents who have devoted their lives to serving the community in different ways. My mother served the county as a teacher in the public schools, a librarian, now serves on the historical society helping the people in the county learn about the past. My father owns a small business providing things people need. He has served the town on committees and helped to make the community better. He serves in the church making sure the practical needs are met. So I have learned about serving and sacrificing from both of them.

But it goes beyond that. I did not choose that word because I learned about serving from my parents. Names and words are important. I believe in my heart and have seen it in my life that, deacon is the word and name the Lord has given me.

Yes, it a “role” within the church and a role that I do not currently have. But I desire to. I want to thank to the SILY community for reminding me to set goals and for keeping me accountable. I want to walk towards that goal. That means a lot of things. It means spending more time in God’s Word. It means choosing to walk in ways that are pleasing to God and not always pleasing myself.

You all are helping me to keep my eyes and focus outward more. Thinking about and serving others is part of the calling in the word deacon. Being a SILY host means, not forgetting or keeping lessons to yourself. We are called to share for the community’s wellbeing and growth.

My word and calling of deacon will be walked out my whole life. This is regardless of if I ever hold the office of deacon. It is my calling. I want to serve others and I find much joy and contentment in it. The word is written on my heart, soul and mind. I may have it written on my body in tattoo form someday. Not for others, but to remind me of my calling. Like any word or calling, we can forget why we chose it or we can get overwhelmed. But when we see that word, we can be reminded and refreshed to walk out that calling. We can be reminded to set goals and walk towards them.

What I Learned Yesterday:

So what did I learn? A word or words cannot fully define us. But they can help us define our calling and goals. They can give us a rudder to steer our ship by and a compass point to aim for. That word can help us gather the scattered thoughts, ideas, and actions of our life into a focused mission statement and plan. I’ve learned that while our word is personal, it takes a community to help us discover it. It also takes a community to fully walk it out. We don’t live or die to ourselves. Our word and calling lacks power without others input, help, and service. So take some time and think, “What is my word?” Take some time and ask others, who know you well, “What word describes me?” Then let’s all walk out our word in the context of community. We will not always have the Stuff I Learned Yesterday podcast, but we have built a community! Let’s walk out our words together as a family!


I’m Geoff Gentry, and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.


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