As I Sat on my bed, holding the telephone in one hand and gripping my hair in the other, tears streamed down my face. I'd HAD it. Every trial it seemed possible had attacked me in the previous weeks. More insidious were the thoughts popping into my head, relentlessly. "What if you live your whole life trying to be a Christian, TRYING to please the Lord and despite your best efforts God meets you at the pearly gates and says 'nope! you aren't good enough! be gone with ya!'" As I cried My friend Heather reassured me that I was wrong but not to take it from her- to take some time in prayer and ask God himself. I got off the phone, laid on my bed and cried and prayed and asked for ANSWERS. I felt USELESS. I felt as if I NEVER accomplished a thing. Every day blurred into the next and I was left feeling pretty useless. But covered in the comforting lull of a good solid prayer/cry session I felt better. I got up and wiped the tears away and went to check on my 7 children, alone in the living room. Then my eyes glanced across the hall to the dining table where I'd carelessly tossed a package that had arrived earlier in the day. I opened up the package and found the book I'd ordered a few weeks ago and forgotten about. It was this book. As i read the first page, i cracked up. My older children asked me what was so funny. They laughed along with me. As I read the book, the ENTIRE book, in one day, I had many laughing aloud moments. The author, David Platt, Described by some as "the youngest megachurch pastor in history" has a compelling, writing style that made me want to keep on reading. As i continued to read, Mr. Platt described Jesus' style of ministering to people. The primary focus of his ministry was a mere 12 men. I finally understood. My life MEANS something. While in the eyes of the world, I may not be accomplishing much, I am teaching my children to be radical followers of the Lord! And beyond that, I'm teaching them that BEING radical followers of the one TRUE God is the most important thing they will EVER do. Oh the power in that! Now, lest you not know me very well and think I'm all about ego and think i'm perfect, I will say that while the book covered ideas with which I was mostly familiar, I was also very much challenged by the ideas contained within.
This pastor has a rare conviction of focusing on the WORD and not trying to sugar coat and dumb-down the Gospel. One of the first topics in the book was Mr. Platt contrasting the differences in Asian believers, sweaty and nervous, telling heart-wrenching tales of martyrdom and capture; all in a days work for an underground Christian. Then he described an American church event, complete with state of the art recreation fields, inflatables, trendy bands, and plenty of food. And Christians that lived, comparably, in the lap of luxury. He discussed churches that would give $5000 to third world starving people and spend ten to 100 times more on a high tech church building. Looking at it in those terms, it is easy to see how INSANE this life we live is! He talked about the silliness of the concept of "accepting" Christ. As if He, the son of God needs "acceptance" It really demonstrated in understandable terms the ridiculousness of being "made" a Christian by reciting a prayer and signing a contract. He also pointed out that the Great Commission, the last commandment Jesus directly gave His people (us!) was to "Go and make disciples of ALL people, to baptize them, and to give up every THING and every ONE in the process! Wow. A tall order indeed, and yet, is this not what we agree too when we make that choice to lay our lives down for our savior? Is eternity that cheap that we can be content with weekly church service and halfhearted giving, both in time and money? Yes, we are to love EVERYONE and seek EVERYONE. We are to go out to the poor of the world, not just finance others, so we don't have to get our hands dirty. He also committed the cardinal sin in American churchdom- to suggest that wealth is NOT a great goal to aspire to. He compares American churchgoer's wealth to the act of slave-owning. Something that was a "blind spot" in the past, that now, we all can see was heinous, a grievous act of an insensitive people. Well, the author suggests that we are committing a grievous sin ourselves in accruing wealth while brothers and sisters in other parts of the world starve. What can I say, it makes sense. I can definitely see this book "stepping on some toes." But its a GOOD pinch.
There is SOOOO much more in this book that I simply don't have time to mention, But I would encourage you to read this book for yourself. The rewards of living a life of courage, of bravery, of selflessness, described by Mr. Platt are immeasurable. I am blessed to have not only the reassurance of my worth, but practical steps I can take to live out God's mission for my life.
You can find the Kindle edition of this book for a GREAT price here
and for only $1 more (right now) the paperback version here