The Concordia Publishing House Podcast

What Were You Born to Do with Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger

July 29, 2020 Concordia Publishing House Season 1 Episode 9
The Concordia Publishing House Podcast
What Were You Born to Do with Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger
Chapters
The Concordia Publishing House Podcast
What Were You Born to Do with Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger
Jul 29, 2020 Season 1 Episode 9
Concordia Publishing House

It’s not unusual for a child to be asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Even as adults, many of us may quietly ask ourselves, “what am I meant to do with my life?’ While that question seems daunting, the answer isn’t as elusive as we may think. I’m glad to welcome the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger today as we talk about our callings for life.

Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger has served as Concordia University Chicago’s University Pastor since 2002. In addition to serving as University Pastor, his role at Concordia-Chicago has grown to include advising all the Spiritual Life activities on campus, directing the Pre-Seminary Program and supporting the University’s Church Relations office.

Learn more about Callings for Life: God's Plan, Your Purpose at cph.org/callings. 

Show Notes Transcript

It’s not unusual for a child to be asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Even as adults, many of us may quietly ask ourselves, “what am I meant to do with my life?’ While that question seems daunting, the answer isn’t as elusive as we may think. I’m glad to welcome the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger today as we talk about our callings for life.

Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Leininger has served as Concordia University Chicago’s University Pastor since 2002. In addition to serving as University Pastor, his role at Concordia-Chicago has grown to include advising all the Spiritual Life activities on campus, directing the Pre-Seminary Program and supporting the University’s Church Relations office.

Learn more about Callings for Life: God's Plan, Your Purpose at cph.org/callings. 

Elizabeth Pittman:

Welcome to the Concordia Publishing House Podcast, where we consider everything in the light of Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I'm your host, Elizabeth Pittman. It's not unusual for a child to be asked, "So what do you want to be when you grow up?" Even as adults, many of us may quietly ask ourselves, "What am I meant to do with my life?" While that question seems daunting, the answer really isn't as elusive as we may think.

                I'm glad to welcome Pastor Jeff Leininger, to the show today as we talk about our callings for life. Pastor Jeff has served as the Concordia University of Chicago's university professor since 2002. In addition to serving as the campus pastor, his role at CU Chicago has grown and that includes advising all of the spiritual life activities on campus, directing the pre-seminary program, and supporting the university's church relations office. We're glad to have you with us today, Pastor Jeff.

Jeff Leininger:

I am delighted to be here, and I'm really happy to talk about this theme and this book with you, Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth Pittman:

I think this is going to be a great conversation because it's applicable to so many people and it's something I think that we all wrestle with. And I would imagine that in your daily work with college students, there's probably a fear of, they're not being able to identify what's the one big thing I'm supposed to do in my life. And, I'm sure that produces some anxiety.

                I was talking with one of our summer interns... Actually our only summer intern this summer, and she has spent some time in the pages of your new book Callings for Life, and she said it was actually very comforting to her to see what you had said. So why is the one big thing just a really big myth? 

Jeff Leininger:

Yeah. We have this idea and it happens at... I think especially for young people and college students, and it comes in well-meaning ways in Christian circles too. It's the idea that there's this one great seismic, spiritual, earth shattering purpose that you've been assigned, predestined even to do in life. And that sounds really exciting. And of course, we all want... We want to encourage young people to do great things in this life. It sounds really exciting. 

                The difficulty though, is that what happens if you miss it? Or you don't listen to the right voices? Or you go to the wrong college? Or you take the wrong class? Or you select the wrong major? Or you kind of screw up with your colleagues? What happens then? Then this one thing you're supposed to do, doesn't happen, and God's really mad at you, and you're going to be miserable and depressed your whole life.

Elizabeth Pittman:

Well, and how horrible is it to think that, "Wow, I'm a failure and I can't change that now because I screwed up my one big thing"?

Jeff Leininger:

Yeah. I think the two words I use, the kind of negative impact of this myth is, one is regrets when you look back on your life, and we can all look back on our lives and wonder, "Did I do the right thing? And what if I would have taken this class?" Or, "What a failure I am because all my teachers in high school, and all my professors thought I was going to win a Nobel Prize in something and I haven't." So, we can look back and regret, and the other side is neglect.

                That as we're going through it, and I think especially me being in college age, but other people as well is that, we can forget about the many things that we're supposed to be doing, the many calling that we have right in front of us. Focusing on that one great thing can cause us to neglect all the many things in our daily lives that God has called us to be faithful in. So, both regret and neglect.

Elizabeth Pittman:

So rather than focusing on the one big thing, where should we be looking? 

Jeff Leininger:

Well, I've got five wonderful chapters in this book. I don't want to tell you too much because I want people to buy the book, because it's something that could be helpful. Chapter one is called Callings, plural. We should be talking and thinking about vocations, plural. In fact, I intentionally never use the word vocation singular anymore, and I try not to use the word calling anymore. 

                I say plural because we have many callings and they are happening now. Presence, that most of the things that we're asked to do in life are unfolding right now in front of us. Not in the future, don't have to go anywhere, just have to open our eyes and see what's happening today. Most of them happen in the everyday ordinary things that we're asked to do. 

                They are not other worldly. They're this worldly callings that we have and they're given to us by God. Most of the things that we're supposed to do in life we don't choose for ourselves. They're actually given to us by God. So, that's kind of an overview of what we mean especially in Lutheran circles about this theology of calling vocations.

Elizabeth Pittman:

I really like how you laid it out using the words faces, places and spaces. It made it very clear that... I did have the Mr. Rogers star kind of going through my head with that but when you think about the people that you run into and some of the vignettes that you share in the story, really bring it home that it's not always big explosive actions that we have to take but it's my seven year old son saying, "Mom, I know you hurt your ankle, I watered the plants on the deck for you." 

                Or helping a coworker or something. So, it's the people that God puts in your path every day that we are called to help. Correct?

Jeff Leininger

Yeah. Yeah, faces, places and spaces. It's got a nice rhyme to it as well, so, that always helps. But I think when people say, "Well, what am I called to do? What's my purpose in life?" And there's so many seminars you can go to, and there's books you can buy, and there's sermon series, and it's all well-meaning. There's whole classes you can take even sort of secular universities, non-Christian universities, they'll have a class on finding your purpose. 

                And I just say that you look to the faces, places and spaces of your life. By faces, I mean the people that you meet when you're walking down the street. Open your eyes to who's the first person you see every day? You have a calling to that person. The people that you work with, that you go to school with, that are on your street in your neighborhood that you worship with. So the faces, look to the people that God has placed in your life. 

                The second thing is the places. Just think geographically. We're all citizens of planet Earth. That is a calling we have to be good stewards of what God has given to us and to look to the needs of our fellow creatures. The other word I use is... Oh, so I was going to say so places geographically, you've got your world, you've got our nation, you've got your community right around you, and we even have your neighborhood in your home. So, geographically you've got colleagues. 

                And then the third one is spaces, and by that I mean kind of the what. What are the roles you've been given in society? What are the responsibilities entrusted to you? Somebody might be the captain of their athletic team. Somebody might be a pastor, somebody might be a manager at work. That those responsibilities also have a calling attached to them. So, it's really not that hard when you think about it. You don't have to go out and try to discover it or uncover it. You just need to look to the faces, places, and spaces of your daily life.

Elizabeth Pittman:

I really like how simple that is because it takes away all of the anxiety that can come with trying to think about something big. And if we think about it, it really is the small stuff. It's in the details and the everyday things that we encounter. And you've talked about this. It's callings, plural. So, I look at it I'm a wife, a mother, a coworker, a church member, a daughter, and there's all these different places and everyone probably could count up five, six, seven, 12 different callings that they have.

                How do we balance all of these callings? I mean, If we got all these plates in the air, how do we keep everything from dropping? 

Jeff Leininger:

One of the things I discovered when I was writing this book and then I also was doing different sessions with Concordia Chicago students as we're talking about. One of the things I noticed is that the amount of law, sort of Lutheran language here, the amount of conviction that people feel when they go through this because right maybe if I'm screwing up that one great calling, at least that's only one thing I messed up. "But now pastor there's 15 things I'm failing at every day. Thank you very much." 

                And so, I think that one of the things I've returned to you in the book is this idea of our baptismal calling, being foundational. It drives us back to grace. That we daily have to repent and daily return to the message of the gospel otherwise we'll just get crushed under the weight of all of the things that we're doing, and not doing, and failing at. 

                So, that's one thing I would say is, the idea of callings returns us to that central baptismal calling, that foundational baptismal calling. We are forgiven by Christ, that our Lord has fulfilled every task, every responsibility, every vocation that we have, it is all done. And so then the idea is that in freedom and love, we simply open our eyes to the faces, places, and spaces around us and serve with a free and cheerful heart. 

                That we live the life of love, not for God because He needs our good works, and not for ourselves that we have to make up for things that we've done in the past, but we live our callings in the life of our neighbor out of love. So, there's certainly is a weight of the law that happens when we think about it this way, but there's also a sense that we must always return to the grace of Christ. 

Elizabeth Pittman:

That's a helpful message to share if someone is struggling with the guilt over not doing enough or not doing the right big things. It's a good message for us to be able to share with them because it is... We need to hear it every day.

Jeff Leininger:

Yeah. And I think also that maybe one of the messages about juggling all the plates and keeping everything up in the air. I mean, one of the things I've kind of learned in ministry, in parishes, and also on a campus, is if you really want something done you ask the busiest people. There's a reason why they're busy, right? And I'm sure that you're one of those people that, "Okay. Can you do this project for us?" Or, "Can you take on this committee at church" or whatever. 

                So, that's the problem is that those that are really busy are busy for a reason. But one of the things I kind of learned through this book is, for us to kind of rest in the presence. That it's okay just to stop and say, (silence) "God has called me to be a mother, a father, to just be content in the little everyday things of my life." And that's enough to do. It's enough just to keep the commandments in my own home, in my own neighborhood, in my own community, and it's okay to just kind of let go of this drive this...

                Sometimes I would call it even the satanic focus to say that, "I've got to do all of this great stuff for the world." Maybe you can just pause for a second, and pause in the presence and just say, "Look, these are the things that God has given me to do today. This is enough. God will take care of all the other big things in life." And I think there can be some rest in peace for people in that.

Elizabeth Pittman:

I think so too because I think if we put too much emphasis on the future, it can build up a lot of anxiety and I think, you even mentioned that it runs the risk of our turning into a false god. 

Jeff Leininger:

Yes. I use this analogy in the book in... About the Ancient Roman god, Iānus or Janus, and we get the word January from this god. And Iānus was a two face god, very popular, one of the most popular gods that they had, and you'll see his faces in doorways in the ancient world. If you go into any museum that has this sort of ancient and antiquities, the ancient classical world, you'll see Iānus there. And one face look backwards and one look forwards, which is appropriate for the first month of the year, right? 

                And also really appropriate if you're going to battle or doing any sort of task. You want to be looking backwards and forwards at the same time. But I use this as a sort of analogy about the false gods we create in this life, one of them going backwards, always looking back, both in sometimes in terms of guilt but also sometimes into the glory days of our past. We can apply this to a church body, or to a congregation, or to an institution. 

                Always looking back to the good old days and they probably weren't as good as we remember them to be. And, sometimes we can look back in guilt to like, "Oh, only I would have done this differently," or "I messed up my life because of this." So there's false god of looking backwards. And then the false god looking forward is you mentioned anxiety.

                Always the question of, "What am I going to do? And what if this happens? And how am I going to work out this? And what great things Am I supposed to do?" And all the decisions that I have to make. And, it becomes a false god when it becomes more important than the gospel, more important than Christ Himself. And so I use this analogy of this Iānus god.

                Of course, we don't literally worship this god anymore but we kind of do, don't we? [inaudible 00:16:35] either looking backwards or forwards. And I think the message of the gospel is that Christ on the cross His hands reach out both to the past and to the future, and that the past is forgiven, the future is certain. What else do we need to know but that Christ love will be with us guiding us in all things?

Elizabeth Pittman:

In a recent blog post published on the CPH blog, Rev. Joe Cox, who heads up the theology department at Lutheran High School here in St. Louis, was talking about the danger of parents who have wrapped their kids and their teens in what he referred to as emotional bubble wrap, and talking about how the parent are hindering in many ways, our youths ability to think for themselves and then to go out and be able to share the gospel themselves.

                What danger do parents run into if they fail to teach our young people how to focus on the present, as opposed to hyper focus on all the things that we parents want our children to achieve in the future?

Jeff Leininger:

One of the things I discovered in talking with people and doing some research for this book is this... We all want successful children. Right? I mean, I want my kids to be good looking and above average, at least, right? As Garrison Keillor says. So we want that and we want the best for them. And there's something of course, good and Godly about that.

                What happens, there's two aspects to this. One is sometimes though we're living our own regrets, and our own failures, and our own past through our kids. And, we're infusing into their lives the things that we wish we could have done, or wish we would have had, or wish we would have accomplished. So, I never made the NFL. I don't know if you knew that or not, that I never made the-

Elizabeth Pittman:

I never would have known. 

Jeff Leininger:

Yeah. That was my dream when I was little to be an NFL quarterback and it never happened and my son, Andrew, who I love, anything to do with sports is completely... He has no clue and anything around sort of bounces on his head he doesn't catch it. And so, I learned very quickly that I can't live my past regrets through my son. But this happens a lot in parenting and when we ask ourselves like all of the activities and the myriad of expectations that we put upon our kids, is it really for them?

                I just ask parents to ask, "Is it really for them that you're doing that, or is there an aspect of it is for you?" Because you need them to be the successful child because of the way it reflects upon you, or the way it helps you kind of deal with your past. So I think that that's one of the dangers. And the other thing is when your kids reflect... When you think about your funeral someday. 

                And when your kids reflect upon your parenting, when they think about the life that you had with them, what are they going to talk about? They may mention the fact that you encouraged them to do great things. They'll probably reflect on the little moments, the present moments of love, and care, and joy that you shared. And I noticed this with the life of John McCain, the great senator that died a few years ago and Meghan McCain, her daughter talked about, "Yes, you all know him as this Admiral, and as the senator, and this great..." 

                There's a ship, there's a naval vessel named after the McCain family. Right? You don't get much more accomplished than that. But she said, "I want to tell you about him as a father. And, you don't know that part of him but this is the most important part of him." And that was very convicting to me, and I think hopefully convicting for our listeners but also maybe encouraging for our listeners to think about what's really important? 

                It's those little present moments, those little callings. By the world standard they're little, but God has infused them with sacredness in our everyday lives, and I hope that people can maybe pause for a moment and focus on those when it comes to the raising of their children. 

Elizabeth Pittman:

What are some of the sacred gifts that we're given through these God given callings?

Jeff Leininger:

There's a number of them that I outline in my book. One of the sacred gifts I think when we think about our callings being God given is that the people that are placed in our lives, the faces that we meet when we're walking down the street. Because they're given to us by God, they have value. They have intrinsic value. They have eternal value because God made each person individually, God has redeemed each person and God has callings in each person's life.

                So, when we start to think about vocations in this way, the people that we meet, the faces of our everyday life, we cannot discard them, we can't ignore them, we can't be dismissive of them no matter what their background, no matter what their skin color, no matter why or how God has placed them in our lives. So, they have sacred value. They have God given value. So, that's one of the sacred gifts I think, looking at callings in that way.

                Another one is that we have this joy in the fulfilling of our callings, that if God has placed these things in our lives, when we fulfill them we know that it is pleasing to Him and that we can rejoice in that. If the things that I do, the tasks that I accomplish, the responsibilities. If this is just random stuff that we do, maybe I enjoy it, and maybe I don't. Most of the things I do I think I enjoy in life, but there's a lot of stuff that we have to do that isn't that fun.

                But if I know that this has been given to me by God, that there's a sense of joy that I have in it. Another gift I think is strength. If it's a God given calling, if God has said, "Jeff, this is what I want you to do today." I know that he will also strengthen me in the fulfilling of that calling. And that is not the case if it's just random events that happen in my life.

                There's no promise associated with them. But if it's from our loving God, I can be assured that He will strengthen me in the fulfilling of these. And then another one is of course, grace. Sacred grace. If our callings are given to us by God, we know that when we fail, which we will, every day, that His grace and mercy is there in abundance for us. 

                And when you think about these four simple things, I don't think it's like earth shuttering things but, that we have a sacred joy, we have value in the things that we do and the people that we serve, we have strength from God, and we have grace. When you think about that, what a way to live. That sort of opens up a world of vocation for you.

Elizabeth Pittman:

It definitely brings a sense of peace when you think about it in those terms. Every now and then, the faces that we meet might be challenging. There could be that coworker who's really on your nerves because you don't understand why they're doing what they're doing, or the neighbor who is for whatever reason causing trouble in the neighborhood. How can we keep our wits about us and fulfill our callings to the troublesome people that we may run into?

Jeff Leininger:

Well, I don't know about Concordia Publishing House, but Concordia University of Chicago has only pleasant perfect people working at it. So I don't know what you're talking about.

Elizabeth Pittman:

It's all hypothetical.

Jeff Leininger:

Hypothetically.

Elizabeth Pittman:

[crosstalk 00:25:10].

Jeff Leininger:

Hypothetic people. But you might possibly run into somebody that you disagree with or that you have trouble with somewhere in your life. Okay? We'll take a hypothetical and chat about it. There are both blessings and burdens to all of our colleagues. And, burdens because we live in a sinful fallen world. But if we see that this is something that God has given us to do, God has called us to be light and salt in this place, it really transforms the way that you have to look at that situation.

                That situation no longer is purely an adversarial situation. It's no longer simply inconvenient for you or a pain for you, but rather, this is an opportunity to show love, and patience, and charity as Christ has done for you in abundance on the cross. And it is also an opportunity to say, "Well, God is at work in this troubled circumstance, this troubled relationship. God is at work shaping me and forming me. And also it causes me to maybe reflect a little bit.

                "Maybe I'm also quarrelsome, and troublesome, and cantankerous at times in my life. So, maybe God is using my sin in the life of somebody else to sort of shape them." In Lutheran circles we talk about the theology of the cross. And this is what we're talking about, to see these as... It kind of sounds straight to see them as opportunities. But they really are that this is God.

                God places these things in our lives to shape us, to teach us about grace, to show us Christ who in abundance has loved us and given us mercy. And as I said, also that, and when we see these as opportunities for vocation, that they're both blessings and burdens, but both the blessings and the burdens come from God.

Elizabeth Pittman:

It's so helpful to remember that it is all from God. And that there is not just one big thing. There're so many small things that really when you add them all up makes such a huge impact. When you stop and think about it in those terms it's a very cool thing. When you look around and you realize it's like every person I interact with, is placed there for a reason. And yes, I have a responsibility to them but how cool is it that we're able to reflect Christ to these people that we encounter every day?

Jeff Leininger:

It is interesting also that you find this in the scriptures. And maybe I'll just talk a little bit about some biblical examples of this. Of course, the Bible is full of highlights too. Moses gets a direct message from God at the burning bush, for example. But in that account that true story in the book of Exodus, I mention this in the book. 

                Well, what about Moses, sister Miriam, or Moses mother, or Pharaoh's daughter, in that scene where Moses is a little boy and put in the basket, and none of them got a direct message from God. And yet, they were they were fulfilling a simple vocation of preserving this life, loving this child, doing the right thing in a little circumstance. They had no idea that God would work a tremendous thing through their everyday vocation.

                And in fact, the whole account never unfolds. The exodus doesn't happen if these three women don't simply follow this everyday ordinary calling of doing the right thing in this circumstance. So, that's one example. Another example is in the book of Jonah. So Elizabeth, who do you relate to in the book of Jonah? What's the first thing that comes to mind when you're in the book of Jonah?

Elizabeth Pittman:

Oh, I'm sitting in the belly. I'm sitting-

Jeff Leininger:

You're in the belly of the whale, right? 

Elizabeth Pittman:

I'm in the belly of the whale trying to hide.

Jeff Leininger:

Yeah, I think that's the first entry point in that account that we think, we certainly relate to Jonah who God has called us to witness through the gospel, witness through His word, and we run the opposite way and we end up in the belly of the fish. And, that's certainly a wonderful entry point. We might even relate to the people of Nineveh because all of us have been called and have rebelled against God, and need to be evangelized and daily brought the word back to us. 

                Sounds a little risky theologically but we might even relate to God in the sense that God has this heart for the lost, and we also should sort of be Godlike in our care for the lost in our emphasis of the mission of the church. Let me just ask you this. Have you ever thought of yourself as the big fish? 

Elizabeth Pittman:

I have not thought of myself as the big fish but I've thought about what if I were the one throwing Jonah into the water? 

Jeff Leininger:

Right. So, there's the sea men on the ship too. Right?

Elizabeth Pittman:

Yeah.

Jeff Leininger:

I mean, I think this idea of vocation, this is another biblical example, is that Jonah and the whale or Jonah and the big fish technically, that story never happens, if the whale just isn't the whale. What does the whale do? He swims around, opens his mouth, eats things, I guess poops, I guess fish poop, I don't know. And then he throws up on occasion. He spits things out. 

                Now, he never got I guess a direct epiphany from God. He just was being what God had called him to be, in a very simple way. And, I'm not saying that this big fish was actually cognizant of this. But sometimes that's the way it is. That we don't know in the just doing what we've been asked to do, in the simple everyday ordinary things we've been given what impact that might make.

                So the whole story of Jonah never unfolds if this fish just isn't a fish. Open his mouth, eat what he's supposed to eat and spit it out. So that's another sort of biblical example of yes, in the Bible we've got Jonah gets a message from God and he kind of screws that up, but then there's also the fish just kind of swimming around doing what he's called to do.

                And that can be very comforting I think for maybe a lot of your listeners who feel like, "Wow, I never wanted to church work," or "I haven't done anything dramatic in my life." Or "I am not a missionary," or "I haven't solved the AIDS crisis or gone to Africa and taught school, or started a college or anything." But you people are making a difference. You don't know what difference you might be making in just being faithful with the small stuff. As I say in the book, "Sweat the small stuff".

Elizabeth Pittman:

It's worth it. And, it's worth putting aside our own selfishness to sweat the small stuff so that we can show kindness to our neighbor. There's so much good in this new book. I really enjoyed reading it. And I think it's going to have a lot of useful messages for a wide range of readers. Talk a little bit about what and who you were writing it for, and kind of some of the things that you were thinking about as you see it, some of the things that you hope for as it goes out into the world.

Jeff Leininger:

My first contacts of course, is at a university and I think there's an application for young college students, but there is also a number of applications. One theme I returned to a lot was I think about the really talented smart mom who was, quote, destined for great things. And now she's in diapers and sippy cups. That's the name of the chapter, diapers and sippy cups. 

                And how for women in our era, these expectations that are placed upon them, that you're supposed to have a successful career, and you're supposed to change the world, and you have this intelligence, and this drive, and this talent. But you also might feel this love for having a family and raising children. And how do you balance that? 

                One section I kind of was thinking about that particular mom and she is embarrassed to go back to her high school reunion because she doesn't want to have people ask her, "Well, what are you doing?" "Well, I'm changing diapers and working in sippy cups right now." But my message in that was that, those are the great things. Those are the sacred, powerful, meaningful things and our lives are our chapters and seasons. 

                And, we don't know what we're doing right now, how it might affect somebody and we don't know what the future is going to hold. So that was one particular kind of person I had in mind that I thought would really benefit from this idea of vocation or callings. I also thought about the person that maybe had considered going into church work or thought they maybe should, but now is doing something else in the secular world.

                Whether it's in the public school teaching, or in health care profession, or in business. And, I thought about that person how they might think, "Well, I'm doing something less. I'm not a church worker, I'm not a pastor," or "Maybe I'm not teaching in a Lutheran School, I'm not a missionary." I wanted them to understand that what they are doing is not only valuable, it is sacred. It is holy.

                And, that that is part of our Lutheran theology, and our Lutheran tradition is that the things that you're doing as the gloves of God as I say it. You're an extension of God's care in this world that it has value, it is sacred, it is holy, it is important. It is a legitimate calling from God. And then I also thought about congregations and institutions too. We can get caught up in what I call... I even named the church, Repristination Lutheran Church. Have you ever been there? To Repristination Lutheran Church?

Elizabeth Pittman:

I think we all have at some point.

Jeff Leininger:

Yes I think we have. This idea that if only we could go back to the glory days, where the Sunday school was always full, and the children were always well-behaved, and the teachers were always well-prepared, and the potlucks were always abundant and fruitful. And, people still kind of think back to those days and of course, we're supposed to remember, enjoy the past with our church body and our congregations. But back to this Iānus character, this false god is that sometimes we idol... It's a false god. It's a false god.

Elizabeth Pittman:

This book will apply to so many people and it's so readable, and it has a way of offering comfort and also kind of a kick in the rear throughout it as it reminds us of where we need to be. And I do think that this is something that for our listeners who have maybe seniors in high school or kids heading off to college even, may want to share with them. 

                Because in this day and age when you see our young people soul searching for their identity and the world is so quick to offer up hundreds of options, so they can just click around online and pick and choose what their identity is, and to get lost in, "Well, what movement should I be a part of?" Or "Where should I put my energy?" I think for them to have this foundation of understanding that there's not one big thing. There's so many small things that you're meant to do.

Jeff Leininger:

If your listeners have a young person that's going off to college, they should buy this book and give it as a gift for them. Five easy chapters they should read it. I mean, one of the things that happens for all of us but especially for young people, is that we forget that being faithful with doing your homework, and serving neighbor, and being a good roommate and being a good teammate, and being a good coworker. That's actually the hard stuff. 

                That's where the rubber meets the road. So, it's actually pretty easy to love people in another country that you've never met before and that you write a check for, or you show up for a week or two, for a short-term mission trip. Those things are all great. We should be doing all of that. But that's actually pretty easy.

Elizabeth Pittman

It doesn't take a lot of energy or exertion on our part to do those things.

Jeff Leininger:

Yeah. What's hard is living with your roommate for a whole semester and not being mean. That's really hard. Or doing your homework when it's really drudgery, or showing love and charity to that member of your congregation that you just don't like. That's the hard stuff. So, I think for a young person going off to college, there's a lot of voices out there and a lot of it is not good. This book will really ground them in a good solid theology of callings that we have. And I think it'll bring them great comfort as well.

Elizabeth Pittman::

And I think no matter our age, we all need to be grounded in that place of our God given callings. If our listeners would like to learn more about the book or get their own copy, which I highly recommend, they can visit cph.org/callings. That's cph.org/callings.

Jeff Leininger:

Callings plural not singular.

Elizabeth Pittman:

Callings plural. So I think that if nothing else, as we leave today, we'll all be looking around and realizing that every single face that we encounter we have a calling to. So, our callings are most definitely plural. Pastor Jeff, thank you so much for your time today. This has been a great conversation. 

Jeff Leininger:

I've loved this. It's fun, the energy of a conversation with you, and thanks so much for the great work that Concordia Publishing House does for our church. This whole process of writing a book and coming up with the idea, and working with you all has been a blessing for me.

Elizabeth Pittman:

Well, we appreciate that you triggered the idea and that you were willing to run with it as we went through the whole process. So, it's been great. Again, the book is available at cph.org/callings. Pastor Jeff, thanks so much.

Jeff Leininger:

Thanks. Blessings. 

Elizabeth Pittman:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Concordia Publishing House Podcast. I pray that this time was valuable to your walk with Christ. We'd love to connect with listeners on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at Concordia Pub. Visit cph.org for more resources to grow deeper in the gospel.