In a world full of injustice, poverty, oppression, and malaise, it is easy to become hardened, cynical, and disengaged. The believer in Christ, however, is called to something greater – to reflect Jesus to all men, especially those who are in distress.
This is the theme of Max Lucado’s newest book, Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference.
Outlive Your Life uses the events of Acts 1-12 as a paradigm for discussing what God expects from believers today. Each chapter begins with a Scripture and ends with a Scripture and a suggested prayer. Chapters feature matters like the ordinary nature of God’s servants, the need to get out of our shells, to put the greater (spiritual) good ahead of lesser (physical) ones, to work with fellow Christians, to be hospitable, to assist others in need, to stand up in the face of persecution, to do good, to be a source of strength for the dispossessed, to remain humble before God, to remove prejudices in life, to resist arrogance, to pray continually, and, based on Matthew 25, remember that when you help people in distress you help Jesus. The book ends with a discussion and action guide designed to promote further discussion and action.
Lucado is a very vivid author. He seamlessly takes you from the first century to the twenty-first century with his illustrations and examples (although I wished that he would keep the first century as the first century and the twenty-first as the twenty-first and not blend the images as he does occasionally!). He writes in a familiar and understandable way.
On the whole, the book is theologically sound and has a message that must be proclaimed.
It is a necessary call in the midst of a time and place more devoted to materialism and consumerism than authentic New Testament Christianity and its emphasis on clearing prejudice, assisting the downtrodden and dispossessed, and reliance on God and not self. May many come to a better understanding of these truths!