This was the first time I have ever read anything by Max Lucado, besides the occasional tweet anyway. I really didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I’d heard a few of his UpWords radio devotionals, but I really didn’t know much about his body of work. Truth be told, I probably would be in the same boat had it not been for the marketing team behind BookSneeze.com.
The book is simple and an easy read if you are only looking at the words themselves. The meaning behind the words, however, is a completely different story. It’s soul shattering and ego exposing. Max takes familiar stories from Acts and adds context to unveil the underlying truths behind the words Luke wrote some two thousand years ago.
The book is a challenge to make a difference in other peoples’ lives, especially the ones we try to ignore every day, the homeless, the drug addict, the outcasts, the billion who go hungry on a daily basis. Taking a nod from the way Jesus taught, the book is a mix between instruction and application. There are several ideas and examples of how one person can make a difference:
- Father Benjamin (in the preface)
- Through micro-financing loans
- Max’s college roommate
- The coach of a high school football team in Texas
I could have stopped reading the book on page 6, where Max recounts the story of 3 questions that “rocked his world.” They disturbed me as well.
- Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would have taken a stand against Hitler?
- Had you lived in the South during the civil rights movement, would you have taken a stand against racism?
- When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?
I had the same visceral reaction that Max had. I imagine a similar reaction occurred when Nathan confronted David in 2 Samuel 12. How is the third question different than the first two? It’s real; it’s not hypothetical. It’s something we can do something about today. Changing the channel during that Sally Struthers commercial doesn’t make the facts go away. It doesn’t make it any less real.
A few years ago I heard an illustration that demonstrates that we get our worth, not by the things we do, but because God says we are worthy. And for years I focused only on what that meant for me personally. I ignored the natural extension to what it meant for others as well. This book puts that into perspective and expands on Matthew 25:
35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
With open eyes and an open heart, it is a lot harder to ignore people in need.
Max puts to rest a lot of the common excuses, like can one person really make a difference, I’m not qualified, and how can I change the world if I can’t change my bad habits. I am inspired. I understand now that “compassion is the consequence of salvation.” (pg 169).
The book also includes a study guide at the end for further exploration and discussion of the ideas in this book.