Warning – this book may completely transform the way you view your life on Earth. If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, it would surprise me if you could read this book and it not have an effect on your life. It sure has mine!
David Platt starts off by comparing the house churches of China, where people risk their lives just to meet, encourage one another, pray and read God’s Word, to the mega-comfortable churches in America – and he is the Pastor of a large church in America. This book had so many shocking things to say that I would have to put it down just to meditate on it for a while. The first shocking thing was when the author was going to speak at a church and the when the pastor was introducing him, he said, “and brother, we promise that we will continue to send you a check so that we don’t have to go there ourselves.” I couldn’t believe that a leader in a church was bold enough to say that. But then Mr. Platt made a good point, “How many of us are embracing the comforts of suburban America while we turn a deaf ear to inner cities in need of the gospel? How many of us are so settled in the United States that we have never once given serious thought to the possibility that God may call us to live in another country? How often are we willing to give a check to someone else as long as we don’t have to go to the tough places in the world ourselves?” Can you say convicting??? The book goes on to tell more about the need globally for people to not only take food and necessities to people, but to share the gospel with the billions of people in the world. My heart broke as I thought about how little I have done to take the saving message of the Lord Jesus to the corners of the world….or even my own neighborhood.
One other shocking thing that Mr. Platt points out in is that in the Old Testament, “God had promised to bless them materially. God poured out material blessings on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. God promised his people that as they obeyed Him, they would receive abundant material prosperity.” However, when you move into the New Testament, Jesus is telling the rich, young ruler to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,” and “the disciples were naturally confused. Why would obedience to Christ lead to this man losing his possessions?” He goes on to point out that “no teachers (including Jesus) in the New Testament ever promise material wealth as a reward for obedience.” He also points out that we are now God’s temple, and the people’s “possessions are to be spent on building, not a place where people can come to see God’s glory, but a people who are taking God’s glory to the world.” He does make a point that it is not wrong to own “things”, but if our “things” get in the way of our helping others and spreading the good news of Christ, then we need to re-evaluate. God blesses us so that we can share that with others.
The last shocking thing that I will point out is how Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” This hits home when you think about, how Mr. Platt points out, defenseless and dumb sheep are and how cunning and dangerous wolves are. We are the sheep among the wolves of the world. “I am sending you to dangerous places, where you will find yourself in the middle of evil, vicious people. And you will be there by My design.’ Jesus told them, ‘Go to great danger, and let it be said of you what people would say of sheep wandering into the middle of wolves. ‘They’re crazy!’ They’re clueless! They have no idea what kind of danger they are getting into’.’ This is what it means to be My disciple.” Safety and comfort are idols of mine –and for most people living in America.
When I first started to read this book, I started to wonder how I would feel if my daughter – who is now 5 – would decide to be a full-time missionary. I would have been terrified and maybe even tried to encourage her to do something else. After reading this book, and especially after she DID tell me she wanted to be a missionary, I am thrilled! What better career could she have than to tell others about the love of Christ and how He died for their sins? What better thing could I do than to be an example of this for her ?
Amazingly powerful book. Thank you for having the courage to write about how we can take back our faith from the American Dream.