Friday, September 10, 2010

Outlive Your Life

Let's face it, I'm no Max Lucado fan.

I've read about 5 books he's written. Which seems like a lot. Until you realize that's over 10 years, and you can read one of his books in about an hour. For that matter the man is a writing machine, he pumps out approximately 87 books a year (ish).

So I wasn't too thrilled about reading his newest book "Outlive Your Life," but I can honestly say that this is the best Max Lucado book I have ever read.

For some of you, that may not be saying much. One of my good friends commented that Max Lucado is kinda like the Dave Matthews of Christian authors. Pretty popular, safe, formulaic; everybody likes him, but nobody can really say why.

This book is no exception, it's fairly typical Lucado style: short chapters, paragraph hallmark card prayer at the end of each one, stories/anecdotes juxtaposed with each point he's making, discussion guide in the back, etc. What really got me on this book is the subject matter.

It's essentially Max Lucado's version of "The Hole in our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. Which is appropriate, as Richard Stearns is the head of World Vision, and Max Lucado does a ton of work with that organization. In fact, his royalties from Outlive Your Life are being donated to World Vision. So that's pretty awesome.

It's not about displaying the horrors of the world out onto pages and attempting to guilt & shame people into action. Not at all! But it focuses instead on trying to make the reader realize that there are seemingly small things we are capable of doing in our day to day lives that will make worlds of difference.

And once we start doing the small things, we'll see opportunities for the bigger ones. We'll break out of our protective shell that keeps our compassion tucked deep inside us, and as it spills out we'll find that it is contagious.

As he quoted in his book, "None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone."

His book is a strong and clear call to action in the every day situations we find ourselves in. It's a push to stretch ourselves beyond what is comfortable...if only by a minuscule amount! It doesn't matter if we don't think it's good enough, or that it will solve all the world's problems, just go and do something!

Which I think is a great approach.

I wonder if we may get overwhelmed by "the big picture" when we look at the poverty, hopelessness, disease, etc in the world. We get a donor fatigue -- compassion fatigue -- love fatigue. We think the things we do can't possibly make a difference.

At least I feel that way sometimes.

I think that if you feel that as well, Outlive Your Life could be a very good shot in the arm for you.

You should buy it, after all, royalties are going to World Vision anyway.