Newsletter 561 – Keeping a Bigger Perspective

Near the end of every year I look back over what I’ve read and select the book that impacted me most. Then copies of these are purchased and sent as Christmas gifts to three or four close friends. Usually these are books on leadership, career development or business but occasionally something unusual rises to the top of my list. 2013 was an example.

 Stearns Devotional 2Probably nobody was surprised to get a copy of Kevin DeYoung’s little book Crazy Busy. (Please see Newsletter 554). Like me, most of my friends are in overdrive and can use something readable, short and practical. This time, however, my Christmas package also included something unusual: a devotional book. He Walks Among Us was written by Richard and Reneé Stearns, the president of World Vision and his wife. (The book was mentioned in passing in Newsletter 552). Here are my reasons for thinking that this also would be useful for the counselors, coaches, people-builders, leaders and students who read these words:

  • The book illustrates trends in publishing that many writers overlook. There are short chapters, captivating stories, clear writing styles, and concise, practical applications. Certainly not all books or presentations can fit this style without “dumbing down” depth of thought or detailed discussion. But many best sellers take this newer format.
  • The book includes incredible photographs by photographer John Warren. Photos and other visual images are difficult to find and expensive to reproduce but never underestimate the ability of images to communicate or to supplement words.
  • More important, the book gives a broader perspective on the world where we live and work. Many of our lives, including the books we read and the churches we attend focus a lot on performance, innovation, success, efficiency, career-building and making an impact. Innately none of this is bad but consider the lifestyle that Jesus lived and the messages he proclaimed. According to the Stearns book if you earn more than $13,000 annually you are wealthier than 90% of the world’s population; you’re in the upper one percent if your salary tops $40,000.
  • This book gently challenges us to rethink our values, revisit the relevance of Scripture, and maybe realign some of the priorities in our lives.

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