Ever since The Prayer of Jabez was inflicted upon the church I have assumed that every gift-sized book I pick up will most likely be beneath me – devoid of good biblical sense and far too shallow to be of any real use. But this just goes to show how shallow and devoid of good sense I myself am. Not only because of how often I read a 300-400 page book and think, “That was pretty good, but he definitely could have said that in 100-150 pages and saved busy pastors a little bit of time,” but also because the last four gift-sized books I have read (The Dangerous Duty of Delight, The Treasure Principle, Humility: True Greatness, and Living the Cross Centered Life) have been absolutely excellent. Jabez is proving to be the exception rather than the rule.
I enjoyed and benefited from Josh Harris’s latest gift-sized book so much that last Saturday I did some budget busting and purchased a copy for everyone in my young adults ministry. (The last book I bought for all of them was Living the Cross Centered Life. So, I’ve matured on the gift-book thing a little). This book speaks a message that the current consumerism-infected generation desperately needs to hear. Here are two excerpts:
“If Jesus loves the church, you and I should too. We can’t use the excuse that the church has messed up too many times or that we’re disillusioned. Jesus is the only person who has the right to disown and give up on the church. But He never has. And He never will” (40).
“I came across a book by a young Christian author who shared his story of finding God on the open road. He and a buddy packed up for a road trip and hit the highway in search of God. His pastor at home just didn’t seem to understand his longings for spiritual depth, so he left everything familiar behind and headed out for adventure. It made for an interesting book. There’s definitely something appealing about striking out and discovering God. It sounds spiritual and courageous. But I don’t think it’s what God’s Word prescribes for spiritual growth. And ultimately I don’t think it’s as spiritual or as courageous as it might appear. Going away is easy. Do you want to know what’s harder? Do you want to know what takes more courage and what will make you grow faster than anything else? Join a local church and lay down your selfish desires by considering others more important than yourself. Humble yourself and acknowledge that you need other Christians. Invite them into your life. Stop complaining about what’s wrong with the church, and become part of a solution” (60-61).
Highly recommended reading.