Chick-fil-A Corporate Service Center, Monday, January 22, 2024
Did you know the Chick-fil-A Corporate Service Center gathers every Monday morning for a devotion? It’s a wonderful way to start the week through worship and an encouraging message.
I was honored and humbled to share some thoughts on the callings in our lives, general and personal, how to determine your calling, and how callings shape us. I’m sharing my talk with you in hopes that you are encouraged to hear your calling and respond to it as well… Enjoy!
Introduction: A Morning of Devotion at Chick-fil-A
Thank you, Chris. I’m humbled and honored to share with you for a few minutes this morning. I appreciate Emi and the Chick-fil-A devotion team for the invitation. And as a Coca-Cola Company alumnus, I treasure our partnership. Thanks for all that you do.
Today’s devotion is entitled “Roars to Whispers: The Calls That Shape Us.” I’ll share a few anecdotes, stories, scriptures, and ways to determine your calling. My hope is that you’ll take away one thing that you’ll apply.
The Evolution of Communication: From Telephones to Texts
How many of you remember?… A telephone on the wall, the Yellow Pages, operators, or answering machines. Even the fact that I said “telephone” shows my age. Now, we know it as a “phone.”
There are over 8 billion smartphones and only 7 billion people on the planet. It’s like some people have a phone for each hand – because why text with one thumb when you can use two?
Closer to home, did you know that Atlanta has the highest call volume per capita? Now, I understand what we’re doing during our lengthy commutes.
Texting has become our primary mobile communication method. An astonishing 19 billion texts are sent daily. And hopefully, you’re not texting while driving, especially if you have two phones.
Of all the interesting statistics that jumped out at me preparing for today’s devotion, mobile phones have 18 times more bacteria than a toilet handle. Who studies this stuff? I don’t know. But it’ll make you think twice when someone asks you to take their picture.
The Personal Touch in a Digital Age
We make or receive all kinds of calls. Think about it. Conference calls, telemarketing calls, survey calls, robocalls, prank calls – I remember being at sleepovers when I was a kid– we’d randomly call people in the middle of the night: “This is Johnny’s Repair. Is your refrigerator running? Yes. Better go out and catch it.” We’d immediately hang up and giggle for hours.
Side note: A boy named Anderson, 11 years old and son of a Chick-fil-A associate, approached me after the talk. He said, “You missed something today. Do you want to know what it was?” “Sure,” I replied with a smile, appreciating his boldness. He said, “butt dial! You forgot butt dial!” He was right. We all have probably made or received the accidental butt dial during our lives. I laughed, loved his courage, thanked him, and affirmed his confidence—one of my favorite post-talk interactions.
Many of our calls are personal and involve good news (like a promotion, a wedding engagement, or the birth of a child), sad news (like someone’s passing, illness, or tragedy), or surprising (a friend or mentor from our past – out of the blue).
I call or FaceTime my mom and dad every Sunday evening just to see them and hear their voice – a tradition we’ve held for almost 35 years.
When we FaceTime with my father-in-law, we enjoy looking at his ears. He still hasn’t figured out the video call thing.
If you’re like me, I spent hours on the phone talking to my wife, Carla, when we were dating. Now, it’s a brief call: ‘I’m headed to the grocery store. Need anything?” If you know, you know. It’s funny how things change.
Spiritual Connections: The Call of the Divine
Whether it’s a phone call, text, or FaceTime, all calls require a caller and a callee.
That takes me back to the word’ telephone.’ Did you know the Greek meaning for telephone is “distant voice?” The first distant voice heard over a telephone was, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Were Alexander Graham Bell’s words to his assistant the first voice-to-voice call? Maybe.
But through a different ‘technology,’ one of the first telephone calls, think distant voice, was from a burning bush. Talk about a holy hotline.
Exodus reads: 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
You know the rest of the story. Moses questioned God at first but then accepted his call and faithfully led the Jewish people to the promised land. It all started with that fateful burning bush call.
By the way, the above picture depicts what it might have looked like with Moses taking a selfie after crossing the Red Sea.
Discovering Your Call: A Six-Pack of Considerations
Before I go on, let’s pause here. Here’s a 6-pack of ways to prayerfully consider your calling:
Before I go on, let’s pause here. Here’s a 6-pack of ways to prayerfully consider your calling:
- Listen to and for God. He speaks to us through his word, prayer, other people, and circumstances.
- Pursue being before doing, form before function – think Moses in the desert for 40 years, getting to know God and learning his ways, becoming humble. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
- Think about opportunities you see around you…
- What is good that I can celebrate and protect?
- What is missing that I can contribute?
- What is evil that I can oppose or resist?
- What is broken that I can restore?
- Take Inventory of how God made you. Consider your values, talents, strengths, and competencies. How can you leverage your God-given gifts to act on the opportunity?
- Desire. Are you passionate about the opportunity?
- Lastly, define your sphere of influence. Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted person will influence 10,000 people during their lifetime. Your sphere probably includes work, community, school, or church.
I’m reminded of a quote from Philosopher Alastair McIntyre I learned in the Colson Fellows Program. He said, “I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question of ‘What story or stories do I find myself a part of?”
Influence and Purpose: The Chick-fil-A Way
Speaking of influence, I’m reminded of Chick-fil-A’s commitment to positively influencing all who come in contact with you. Whether through your work, community involvement, or interactions with each other and your customers, you’re not just fulfilling a role; you’re living out a purpose and calling entrusted to you.
Questions for you: Who are the 10,000 people you’ll influence? What stories do you find yourself a part of? How will you represent Chick-fil-A?
Discerning Your Path: Personal Reflections on Career and Calling
But that’s not all.
What happens when you hear a call but can’t confirm it’s the right thing, the right timing, the right opportunity?
That’s where I found myself in 2010. I was in the midst of another Coca-Cola organizational change. By the way, I survived 11 reorganizations during my 20+ year tenure. This reorg found me without a position in Knoxville, where we’d lived for eight years, and required us to relocate to Atlanta. We were blessed with a wonderful church family where I served as an elder and was passionate about making disciples. Our family didn’t want to leave East Tennessee. My Pastor at the time, knowing of our predicament, invited me to lunch a couple of weeks before relocating. He shared his vision for the church, drew out an organization chart (see above), showed me the role he had in mind, and said with almost a roar, “this might be your burning bush moment!”
His offer humbled me. I went home and told Carla about the opportunity. We prayed, played out all of the scenarios, and prayed again. The decision process was heart-wrenching. We wanted to stay in Knoxville, but something wasn’t right. Was it the right opportunity? Maybe. Was it a stretch role that leveraged my gifts and skills? Yes. But – I never felt a burning passion in my heart and wasn’t inspired to make a radical career change.
So, I turned down the opportunity. I chose to stay in the marketplace and not enter the ministry. Honestly, I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I had taken the role.
Life is messy, but I believe God engineers all circumstances.
Since then, God’s done immeasurably more than I can imagine by helping me become a minister of reconciliation in the workplace, an ambassador for him, and even writing a book, Discipled Leader, about how to live out your faith in the workplace – A message I never would’ve written had I not decided to stay at Coke.
How about you? Have you heard a call and aren’t sure what to do? I encourage you to hang in there and be obedient. Like you, I’m still trying to figure it out.
A Call to Trust: Lessons from the Garden of Gethsemane
Fast forward to last spring. Carla and I, along with some friends who are here today, were on a Passion City Church Holy Land Tour. I’m sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s this little garden where Jesus submitted his life and will to God before he went to the Cross. It’s a weighty place, to say the least.
I’d recently taken early retirement, and after being untethered from Coke, I was floating – the structure, the accolades, and the sense of importance that came from my corporate life all vanished. I was grappling with a loss of identity, a crisis of purpose.
“Lord, where are you in all of this,” I implored.
But I found a semblance of solace in the garden where Jesus grappled with his destiny.
He whispered, “follow me.” – two words I’ll never forget hearing.
It was a directive that required no roadmap, no strategic plan, and no business acumen. It was a call to surrender, to trust, to let go of the ‘what’ and ‘why’ and to embrace the ‘who.’
Os Guinness speaks of calling as a summons by God that infuses our very existence with meaning. It’s not about starting with ‘why’ but ‘who.’ And in that moment, I realized that my identity wasn’t tied to my past achievements or future endeavors—it was anchored in Jesus. It was about being His, first and foremost.
The world tells us to find our purpose through self-exploration and experiences, but I’ve come to understand that it’s not about crafting our narrative—it’s about stepping into the one already written for us. It’s about responding to the call of Jesus, the most revolutionary invitation ever extended.
Have you heard his call, “Follow Me?” If you’ve heard it and haven’t responded, what’s holding you back? Answering his call will be the greatest decision you’ve ever made.
Responding to the Greatest Call
In closing, I leave you with this…
Acts 17:26 says, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”
This speaks to our time, our place – ordained by God.
John F. Kennedy, Jr. once asked, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”
You are the ‘who,’ now is the ‘when.’
All God asks is that we are available and faithful. If we answer his call, he will do the work.
Conclusion: Answering the Call
Let’s pray – Lord, whether it’s a roar or a whisper, help us listen to you and for you. Shape us and move in our hearts and minds to show us where you are working and help us join you. May we seek you first and foremost, knowing that everything else will fall into place if we trust and obey you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I’d love to hear from you and know your key takeaway.
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to learn more about leadership and how I can work with you, please visit my website, prestonpoore.com, to learn more.
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Over a decade ago, I treated my family to a holiday meal at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I remember wanting the dinner to be special and memorable. I desired to reflect on the past year with them and learn how to be a better husband and dad. My goal was to hear what was on their hearts and minds. I’d been inspired by Patrick Morley’s book, Man in the Mirror, and was exposed to Socrates’ philosophy, “the life which is unexamined is not worth living.” In other words, human life is deprived of the meaning and purpose of existence without reflection.
Taking a cue from Socrates, I moved our normal dinner conversation to a deeper level. I began asking them what they remembered about the past year. What were their successes and challenges? What did they learn, and how will they change? What did they want to accomplish in the next year?
It was quiet at first… I got blank stares. I couldn’t imagine what was going through the minds of my wife, Carla, 16-year-old daughter, Caroline, and 14-year-old son, Benton. But, my family soon caught on and engaged in the discussion. We all found it enlightening to hear each other’s thoughts, successes, failures, learnings, and dreams. So much so that we’ve made the dinner and discussion an annual event called Ruth’s Christmas; it’s become our favorite family tradition.
Before our annual holiday dinners, I make it a practice to send everyone a list of questions to prime the discussion pump. The topics and questions varied slightly over the years but, in essence, remained the same. Here’s an example of some questions we’ve used in years past:
- Review. What were your three goals last year?
- Accomplishments. Did you meet your goals? Why or why not? Are there other achievements outside of the original goals you’d like to recognize? What made you the proudest?
- Learnings. What challenges, adversity, or failure did you encounter? What did you learn? How will you apply the learning? How will it change you and how you approach the future?
- Well-being. On a scale of 1 to 10, how’s your well-being (mental, physical, emotional)? Did your well-being improve or decline this year? Why? What would you like your score to be in the future? How will you get there?
- Joy. What brought you the most joy or happiness this year. (Could be an activity, new project, person, place, etc.) What will you do to replicate and increase that in the future?
- Goals. What are three objectives you’d like to achieve? Why will it be important to you to achieve the goals? What does success look like? When will you start? What barriers do you anticipate, and how will you overcome them? Who will hold you accountable?
- Bonus Questions. Do you have a personal vision, the mental picture of your preferred future? If so, what is it, and how will you work toward it? Do you have a dream? What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What will you do to make your dream come true?
Over the years, we’ve laughed and cried during our time of reflection. We understand that insight comes from reflecting on experiences, and the ideas help us change and grow. And, we’ve learned that examined experience is indeed the best teacher and that the examined life is worth living. Lastly, we invest time looking back to look forward. We envision the future. We share our hopes and dreams.
How about you? Have you taken a moment to slow down and inventory all that you experienced this year? Do you have someone to share your thoughts and dreams with? I recommend that you call a timeout, reflect and use the above questions to shape your thoughts and learn about others. If you do, you’ll grow and live a life worth living, full of meaning and purpose.
Want to learn more? Please visit prestonpoore.com today!
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Recently at Colorado State University, I delivered the Sigma Chi Beta Tau Chapter 100th Anniversary Keynote Address to ~250 of my fraternity brothers and friends . . . I shared how to move from a success mindset to a “Significance Mindset.”
I encourage you to read the message because what I share may be game-changing for you as I provide some keys to living a meaningful, purposeful, significant life. . . The message may transform how you interact with people and how you influence your world. You’ll learn how the power of generosity, making waves, and enlarging others can make a positive difference. Now, “Developing a Significance Mindset.”
Good evening. It’s an honor to be with you, my Sigma Chi Brothers, and friends. Thank you for inviting me to share some thoughts with you. I want to introduce my beautiful bride, Carla – a University of Alabama grad, Chi Omega member, and wonderful mother of our two children, Caroline and Benton.
Tonight, I want to talk about something that may be a game-changer for you. It may transform your life, the way you interact with people, and how you influence your world.
If you’re experiencing a successful career but seem empty on the inside and wonder if there’s something more, this message may be for you.
If you’re struggling to determine life’s purpose and what truly matters, this message may be for you.
If you’re a student, early in life’s journey and or an alumnus enjoying retirement and want to learn about how to make a positive difference in the world, this message may be for you.
I encourage you to listen to what I share. It may be the most important 15 minutes of tonight, this month, this year, or your life.
Tonight, I want to share my thoughts on our need to mentally shift from success to significance. Meaning how we think about things, how we approach life, developing a “Significance Mindset.”
What does it mean to have a “Significance Mindset”? It means to move away from a self-focus to an others-focus; from using your time, talents, and resources for your own good to using them for the good of others; to swap adding value to yourself for adding value to others; to transition from spending time on things that don’t matter to investing time in things that do; things that have meaning and purpose. Serving others rather than serving self.
John C. Maxwell, the most prolific leadership author and speaker of our times, said, “A lot of people believe they are successful because they have everything they want. They have added value to themselves. But I believe significance comes when you add value to others, and you can’t have true success without significance.”
Does any of this resonate with you? Do you want to grow beyond success and develop a Significance Mindset? What would your family, community, business, school, or place of worship look like if you did? What would happen? How would you be able to influence your culture and change your world?
Let me share a simple story where I began to learn about developing a Significance Mindset, shifting to a life that matters. . .
I met Juan in a dump, a city dump. Juan was a “pepenador,” a scavenger. He made his living by rummaging through trash in the Tijuana City Dump and reselling what he recovered to local merchants. Everything that he owned came from the dump – clothes and food – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Juan and 200 families that live in the landfill are among the poorest of the poor in Tijuana. Homes were created with tarps, pallets, tin scraps, and old garage doors – whatever residents could find and use to build a roof over their heads. The rancid odor that arose in the summer’s heat overwhelmed me but was barely noticeable to the dump’s residents.
Why was I in the Tijuana City Dump? I volunteered to go on a mission trip with my church to serve the people that lived in the landfill. We aimed to help those who couldn’t help themselves, shine light into a dark place and invest our time, talents, and resources to bring hope to the hopeless.
Once we arrived in the dump, we spread out across the canyon, knocking on doors, giving them a gift of rice & beans, and inviting them to a Vacation Bible School. We shared that the School would include games, music, and food. We also mentioned that we’d be providing personal hygiene supplies and services at the event. Why? As you might imagine, water was a scarce resource in the dump. The place was pretty much a third-world country. Showering, washing hair, and brushing teeth were all considered a luxury. But, it provided us an opportunity to show extravagant generosity, love in action, to the dump residents by providing hygiene supplies and services.
After making the rounds and inviting folks to join us, we set up the School location, including a long line of hair washing stations. Each station included a chair, buckets of water, and shampoo.
What was missing? Volunteers to wash hair. . .
A mission trip leader asked, “Who’d like to wash hair today?”
Okay, I have to admit, this is where I got a little uncomfortable. I put my head down and stepped back, not wanting to make eye contact with the leader.
The leader explained that women volunteers would wash women’s hair, and men would wash men’s. I grew a little more uncomfortable but remembered that the best way to grow is to move out of one’s comfort zone and into the awkward zone.
I raised my hand and said, “I’ll do it.”
Soon after, the Vacation Bible School started. I was amazed at the large number of adults and children that came. I found the dump residents a kind, warm-hearted, and gracious bunch considering their living conditions. We connected with people through translators, sang songs, watched skits, and broke bread together.
Then came the hair washing. Ladies first. A long line developed, and the pampering began. Next, the men lined up, and it was my turn to step up. I went to my assigned station and saw a middle-aged man urged by his significant other to wash his hair. He was hesitant at first but slowly shuffled in my direction. I smiled and introduced myself to Juan as he sat down in the chair. He didn’t look me in the eye. I could tell this was a very humbling experience for him.
I slowly poured the water on his head, applied the shampoo, and washed his lice-infested, thick black hair. It only took a few minutes, and when we were done, Juan offered no gratuity for washing his hair other than a bright smile and saying “gracias” as he looked me in the eye, man to man. He waved goodbye and left with his family.
I’m not sure I will ever see Juan again or know how his life turned out. I do know that he experienced a moment of happiness and refreshment and that I played a small role in it.
What may seem like a trite experience to you was huge for me. It was the genesis of my shift from a success mindset to a Significance Mindset. It was a moment that mattered, one where I took the focus off of myself and placed it on others to help someone who couldn’t help themselves.
This led me to ask: How does one develop a Significance Mindset? Here are three principles I discovered:
- Be Generous. “The greater the giving, the greater the living.”  Invest your time, talents, and resources to benefit others. Instead of spending hours on social media, invest time serving your family, community, school, or place of worship. Leverage your strengths and talents to help build something that lasts, that matters. Lastly, give money to people, churches, and charities. You’ll care more about to whom or what you give money – The good book says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” King Solomon wrote, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”  Even industrial magnate Andrew Carnegie got it. He said, “No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.”  Be generous.
- Create Waves. Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  Cast stones in the water to make a positive difference. What do I mean? Do you see injustice at work? Speak up. Is someone being bullied? Stick up for them. Is someone you know feeling down? Encourage them. Is someone lacking resources? Meet their need. Shift the focus off yourself and onto others. Look for opportunities to make a positive difference in your sphere of influence and change your world. Do things that matter. Help the helpless. Be a light in our often dark and chaotic world. Create waves.
- Enlarge Others. Help people reach their potential through coaching and mentoring them. Invest in them. Think for a moment about who’s had an impact on your life. Play along with me for a minute. Close your eyes for just a moment. Picture the individual. Can you see them? Was it a teacher, coach, manager, friend, or family member that inspired you to grow? Did they believe in you? Did they bring out the best in you? Looking back, how did they help you? Now, tell someone next to you the name of the individual. Let’s turn it around. How do you take what you were given and pour it into others? Imagine someone you can build up, enlarge. Share the name with someone. I encourage you to intentionally build your identified person up. Invest your time, talents, and resources in them. Help them reach their potential. What if you don’t invest in people and enlarge them? “Composer Gian Carlo Menotti forcefully stated, ‘Hell begins on that day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts we wasted, of all that we might have done that we did not do.’ Unrealized potential is a tragic waste. And as an enlarger, you have the privilege of helping others discover and then develop their potential.”  Enlarge others.
I want to drive home one more point. You don’t need to be a president, CEO, famous actor, or billionaire to live a meaningful life. Why? Did you know that sociologists say that even the most introverted individual will influence up to 10,000 people during their lifetime? That’s right. 10,000 people. Whether you realize it or not, you have incredible influence. Develop a Significance Mindset by being generous, creating waves, and enlarging others. You’ll be a positive influence and change your world.
I want to end tonight with a piece by Michael Josephson titled What Will Matter: 
“Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you are beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So, what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage,
or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories of those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.”
In closing, may I get personal with you for a moment and ask a few provocative questions?:
- Do you have a desire to live a meaningful life, one that matters? If so, why?
- What do you need to do to shift from a success mindset to a “Significance Mindset”? What actions will you take?
- When will you do it? – don’t hesitate – do it now. Why wait?
- Who will you share your plan with? Who will hold you accountable? Tell someone you can trust and who will help you make the mindset shift.
- Lastly, if you are curious in matters of faith, in whom do you find your significance? I find mine in God.
If any of tonight’s messages resonated with you or the questions I just asked inspired you to think or behave differently, I’d love to hear from you and learn how I may be able to help you along your journey.
May you choose a life that matters, develop a Significance Mindset, and make a positive difference in your world. God bless, In Hoc, and thank you.
Do you want to learn more about living a significant life and becoming a leader others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
 John C. Maxwell Today Matters
 Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Pr 11:24–25). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
 Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
 Excerpt From: John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
 https://whatwillmatter.com/2011/10/what-will-matter-745-3/> Read More
I’m a disciple of Christ and an executive at a Fortune 500 Company. In my blog, The Discipled Leader, I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work.
As a certified coach, speaker, and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, I help others grow their relationship with Christ, develop their leadership skills, and understand how they can make a positive difference in today’s chaotic world.
Let me help you reach your potential.
I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work. I invite you to subscribe to my blog and learn how to develop Christlike character, influence your culture and change your world.