He is at it again. Max Lucado has written another book that will probably sell millions of copies. Out Live Your Life is a book that targets the complacency of those who call themselves Christian to make a difference in the world, and to leave a legacy behind. It is accurately subtitled You Were Made To Make A Difference because by looking at selective accounts of the early church in the book of Acts, Max tries to convince you that you can make a difference in this world. God used the ordinary people back then and He still does today.
Max is a really good writer. He is clever, holds your attention, paints pictures with words, and at times makes you think. But here’s the issue with his writing style. From the first book I read of his until today, Max tends to take extreme liberty with the storytelling of the biblical text. At times, I wondered whether he was relaying the biblical account or historical fiction. I realize this may help people see in their minds eye the biblical story, but it could be dangerous as people read details into the biblical account that are not there.
My biggest concern for this book was a lack of gospel message. It is a book about taking care of the homeless, feeding the hungry, helping the poor, and getting out of our comfortable life to live for something greater. While there was one chapter on Jesus and the gospel, it seemed as though it was a part of the process of fixing the world of its ailments, not the core of the process. In a lot of ways, this book felt like a watered down version of Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I pray the book does wake people up to care for the hurting and needy, but not at the expense of the gospel.
One part of the book that really bothered me was when he described the events of Ananias and Sappphira. When they gave their money to the church, they did so as an act of self-promotion. In his advice for taking hypocrisy seriously, he says to “give financial gifts in secret” (93). I completely agree with that, which is why I was confused when I read the back cover of the book which said: “One hundred percent of the author’s royalties from Outlive Your Life products will benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion.” I am glad that Max is putting his money where his mouth is in this book, but to promote that feels like a plea to sell books.
There were other things that I struggled with this book. For instance, he quotes from nine different Bible translations. He says Jesus saw something in Peter, John, and others that was worth developing and saving (not sure that sounds like the gospel message I believe). And he continually refers to all people as “God’s children.” Is it worth a read? Maybe, but if you do, read with a discerning eye. Take the good, leave the bad.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”