Tag Archives: Joe Cavanaugh

Book Review: The Language of Blessing


In The Language of Blessing, Joseph Cavanaugh writes that “[I]f all people walked in their callings and contributed what God gave them to contribute, every need in our communities would likely be met” (77).

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? But how does one discover one’s calling? How does one recognize the callings in other people’s lives? Cavanaugh provides some good answers to those questions in The Language of Blessing.

Essentially, the book contains two primary topics that serve as goals for the reader: (1) how to recognize one’s own talents, and (2)(a) how to recognize and (b) facilitate talents in others. Cavanaugh explains that “All people have within themselves a potential ‘fire in the belly’—one or more internal drivers that enable them to develop the gift within, let their light shine, achieve great things, and contribute their unique genius to the world” (163).

Cavanaugh provides web links to free resources throughout the book, and he provides “Ten Keys for Observing Gifts and Talents” (page 154-58) that can help readers learn to walk in their own calling and thereby pour out blessings to others.

One of my favorite parts of the book is about how words have the power to bring life or death . . .
The advice Cavanaugh gives in the book is an excellent reminder of the power we hold in our tongues. For example, parents have the first opportunity to recognize and nurture their children’s gifts. Cavanaugh relates, early in the book, a sad, personal story of how his father crushed a youthful, blossoming interest in horticulture with only a few sharp words. Cavanaugh warns us that “words bring forth life or death. . . . What you say has the power to give life to dreams and callings—or to snuff them out before they have a chance to develop” (11).


At times, it seemed to me that many of the points Cavanaugh made were common sense, but even so, The Language of Blessing is worth reading. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

There are nuggets of wisdom woven throughout the book, and it seems that even a well-seasoned Christian will benefit from Cavanaugh’s insights. I personally found the chapters on affirming the talents of others (talents that may often go unrecognized) to be a challenge. I know I have been guilty of focusing on other people’s weaknesses, rather than on affirming their talents.

I should do better.

So should we all.

Therefore, let’s take Mr. Cavanaugh’s advice and learn to recognize our own and others’ talents; then, with that talent-recognition ability in place, let’s speak the “language of blessing” to others so they will in turn recognize and use their talents for the betterment of society.

***NOTE***In exchange for my review, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of the book. In no way was my receipt of the book contingent on a favorable review.


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