Calling is not what you do, but how you do what you do.” 

- Dan Allender

Hans Zimmer is possibly the greatest composer of our day.  If I played you a mashup of his greatest compositions, many would be instantly recognizable.  He is responsible for the scores and soundtracks for:

  • Gladiator

  • Inception

  • Dunkirk

  • Interstellar

  • The Dark Knight

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • and dozens of others

In his Masterclass, he talks about the craft of scoring a film.  He has such genius in this area that his teaching not only illuminates and simplifies but demystifies the work as well.  And one of the crescendoing points of his teaching (in lesson 30 of his Masterclass) is that there is a unique hidden genius in all of us, but that the real glory is when each of us sings in that unique voice.

He says, “When my fingers land on the piano keys it is different than when anyone else does.”

He said that people are always chided to find their voice, but the real work comes in the application of that voice.  He said that he might have been born with some unique gifting, but the voice he uses to express it is the summary of the entire life he has lived:

I don’t think I was born with it, but through my cultural influences, where I am from, what I listened to as a kid, just the way I learned an accent, I have a voice.  And whether I do the blues in “Thelma & Louise” or faux-Roman music in “Gladiator,” I am still doing it in my voice.

One of the quotes people will hear several times at our LifePlan retreats is from Dan Allender:“Calling is not what you do, but how you do what you do.”

I think Hans Zimmer would agree.  There is a misconception that people only need to do something like a LifePlan when they are stuck, facing a job change, needing to make a job change, or in a transitioning season of life.  While it is beautifully clarifying and comforting in that season, it also gives very clear direction to the type of path that Zimmer and Allender are pointing towards.

While Zimmer may have gifting, training, and experience in playing a piano or composing, the real power in all that is when he offers it in his unique voice.  And for the purpose of trying to move people and help them experience something extraordinary in their film watching experience.  That is when his glory truly shines.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
— Matthew

Because the greatest thing about each of us is not what we produce, achieve, or accumulate, but who we become.  And becoming what it is really glorious is simply discovering what is already true and just living into it.


  • Do you know who you are?

  • Are you familiar with your unique voice?

  • How different do you think life and every situation would feel if you knew?

  • What is costing those you love and lead to not be living that way?