The challenges humanity presently faces are of a magnitude that defies comprehension. The sheer scale of global crises such as poverty, hunger, disease, and human trafficking can easily numb us into hopelessness. After all, what can one person really do to turn back the tide of human suffering?
In Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado reminds us of what’s possible. Using the historical narrative found in the New Testament book of Acts, Lucado highlights the way the first century Christian church put their faith into action, and how the results profoundly changed their world. Drawing lessons from their lives, he shows us how we too can do the kind of good that will outlast our own lifetimes.
I brought this book with me to Starbucks on my lunch break one weekday. On my way in, I brushed off a boy who was selling products to raise money “for a good cause” just outside (I was the second consecutive person to do so). Honestly, I hadn’t even considered helping him, and before I could blink, I was already safely inside. As I sat reading, though, I realized that I hadn’t allowed myself to truly see or empathize with him. I lifted my gaze and noticed several other people coldly ignoring his pitch as they passed him by. I was so inspired by what I had just read that I had an instant change of heart. Suddenly, I felt compassion on the boy and recognized that God had given me an opportunity to let someone know that He loves him. As I passed him the second time, I stopped and handed him a five dollar bill. When he asked me which one of his items I’d be taking, I told him, “Nothing. I just wanted to tell you that Jesus loves you.”
I walked back to my car overwhelmed with emotion. Don’t get me wrong, I know I didn’t save the world. I just listened to the voice of God, and afterward, I could feel that a powerful current of love had just passed through me, from the heart of God, to that boy.
Often, people say they want to lose themselves in a book, to turn their gaze inward. This is one of the rare books that does just the opposite – it turns your gaze outward. In a culture where everyone lives in their own bubble, Lucado encourages us to take an honest look at how we respond when we see someone in need. This is just one example of the epiphanic moments I had while reading Outlive Your Life. I highly, highly recommend it.