Saturday, September 8, 2012

Outlive Your Life

I have always enjoyed Max Lucado's books.  Our Sunday School class recently did a study on this book so we each got to read a copy.
As always, Lucado does an excellent job of presenting Bible stories and principles in a completely fresh and illuminating way.  Here are some interesting points I found in the book:

-  Lucado discusses the difference between the behavior of the disciples at the time of Jesus' death (cowards who betrayed Him, denied Him, etc.) and the behavior of the disciples just six weeks later.  Having seen the resurrected Jesus, the disciples began a movement to tell the world about Jesus, even risking their own lives to do so.
-  Lucado tells a fable about "Father Benjamin," who lived on a distant island.  The island is one of a cluster of islands, all of which are undeveloped with starving, miserable people.  On one island the people have irrigated fields, villages with roads, etc.  The people are healthy and happy.  The visitor asks why that one island is so much more developed than others.  He is told it is because of Father Benjamin and is then given a tour of the island.  He keeps asking to see where Father Benjamin lives, but is continuously toured around the island.  He finally asks to talk with Father Benjamin and is told that he died many years earlier.  The islanders explained that they were showing the visitor where Father Benjamin lives, which continues on despite his death.
- Lucado gives an example of going to the grocery store for bread.  In the store, he gets sidetracked and buys potato chips, then soda, then cookies, etc.  Then his arms are full so he checks out and goes home.  His wife asks "where's the bread?"  He missed the one item he was supposed to get.  He missed his purpose because he got sidetracked by other stuff until his mind was distracted and his arms were full.  Peter in Acts 2 tells us to focus on our purpose.  If only we could make our lives so simple!
-  Lucado discussed the grain-to-bread process.  The seed must be planted and nurtured to grow.  Then the grain is cut down and ground into flour.  Then it must be subjected to the heat of an oven to bake.  Jesus, the Bread of Life, was also born into this world and nurtured.  Then he was cut down, bruised, and beaten.  Finally he endured the fires of hell to become the Bread of Life.
- The word hospital and hospitality come from the same Latin root, the word for healing.  When we open our door and offer hospitality to someone, we are telling our guests "you are worth the effort, you matter."  That action has a healing effect on people.
- The musical artist Bono apparently has a song in which he mentions the "accident of latitude."  Third world countries are void of so many things Americans take for granted: unemployment insurance, disability payments, college grans, Social Security, etc.
- Poverty, Lucado writes, is rocket science.  Unlike so many other issues, solving the problem of worldwide poverty has no easy solutions.
- Lucado tells the story of violinist Joshua Bell, who sat on the floor of a DC Metro station and played his instrument, with an open violin case in front of him.  In less than an hour, 1,097 people walked past him.  Only 7 people paused longer than 60 seconds.  The donations total $32.17.  Unbeknownst to all but one person, Bell was an accomplished violinist who had performed a few days earlier at a symphony hall.  Tickets for that performance sold for $100 a piece.  Despite his impressive talent and skills, people generally ignored him.  The context was off; people did not expect a quality, classical performance in a subway station.  Additionally, people were so consumed with their own busyness that they didn't take a minute to notice beautiful music.

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