Saturday, January 15, 2011

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

In Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado encourages Christians to make an impact—an impact of compassion—that will outlast their lifetimes. Just as Christ used ordinary men like Peter, Andrew, and James during His earthly ministry, He continues to use ordinary men and women today. God is waiting to use us if we will only open ourselves up to His will. Lucado addresses important issues related to serving others, including “Calling Mr. Pot Roast” (God’s use of ordinary people), “Don’t Forget the Bread” (sharing Christ while sharing compassion), “Remember Who Holds You” (giving God the credit), “Blast a Few Walls” (overcoming what we see on the outside), “That’s Jesus Playing That Fiddle” (the biblical reason for giving), and many others.

To be honest, this call to compassion is nothing new. Christians talk about giving all of the time. “Support this ministry. Support that ministry. Support our ministry.” I realize that God calls us to give of our means, but sometimes it seems as if we are being pressured into giving. Sometimes we may give because it makes us feel good or because we will feel like we are bad Christians if we do not give. If that is our reason for giving, if we feel pressured to give to others, we have missed the point. God blesses a giving heart, not a pocketbook emptied by homeless people we see on the street corner. I wish Max Lucado’s book had addressed this topic more thoroughly. One of the Bible’s most important verses on giving is 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” If an individual is barely able to pay his bills and is not in a position where he can give “not grudgingly, or of necessity,” he should work to improve his financial position so that he can give cheerfully. [For this, I recommend The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.] Regardless of our financial position, every one of us has something that we can give; however, the most joyful giving will occur when we can give without being afraid we just donated our grocery money. Outlive Your Life includes many good points, but I recommend reading Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris instead. Rather than being devoted entirely to the topic of giving, Do Hard Things (along with Alex and Brett Harris’s second book, Start Here) encourages Christians to excel wherever God has placed them, whether that involves raising money to dig wells in Africa, running a political campaign, or giving honor to parents. [Reviewer’s note: Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations is intended for teenagers but is a great read for adults as well.] If you choose to read Outlive Your Life, let it be a call to love and compassion, not a mandate to give.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment