I have a few New Year’s resolutions. I like to make resolutions, whether at New Year’s or at other times in the year, but on January 1st, I typically like to make non-life-changing, “fun” resolutions. This year’s resolutions?
- Knit a pair of socks.
- Drink more water.
- Sew a dress.
- Read 25 books.
The first of the 25 books I’ve read this year is Love Does by Bob Goff. (Actually, I started it on December 24th, but I say it counts because I finished it a couple of days ago). If ever there was a book to kick off your New Year, this is the one. Encouraging, inspiring, and challenging, Bob Goff and his book will get you thinking about love in a way that isn’t meant to stop at the thinking stage – it’s meant to get you doing.
No, Love Does is not a step-by-step guide to how to love better. It’s not a program or instructions on what Jesus would do. It’s a collection of stories from Goff’s own life – a life that has been filled by great love that does. Bob Goff is a Christian, but he doesn’t write a theological treatise about love. He writes about the various ways he’s had the opportunity to “get some skin in the game,” as he would say, and love in practical ways. Some of these ways including taking his kids to 29 different nations to speak to the leaders of those nations about their hopes for the world following the tragic events of 9/11; when he decided he wanted to become a lawyer (so he could make a positive difference in the world) and his grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, he sat outside the dean’s office for over a week until he was allowed to enrol; one of his law offices is on Tom Sawyer’s island at Disney, as he reasons that people are out of their element there, and can get more done rather than simply yelling at one another; because of his work in Uganda, where he has seen hundreds of young people set free from prisons after he was able to bring their unheard cases to trial, he is so well-liked in that nation that he was made the Ugandan consul. Each chapter of Love Does is a different story of a caper that Goff jumped into without a plan or a program; he simply walked in love as opportunities presented themselves.
I’m teaching 1 John tomorrow, so I’ve read that book a few (dozen) times. Preparing to teach a book that repeats the word “love” 44 times, while reading Love Does, has made for a really challenging start to 2013. 1 John 3:18 says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Goff concludes his book by anticipating the question the reader is asking after reading story after story of love; “what do I do?” His advice? “I usually just try to figure out what the next step is and then do that. I know it sounds too simple, too formulaic; it seems like there must be more to it. But there isn’t. For most of us, that next step is as easy as picking up the phone, sending an e-mail, writing a letter, buying a plane ticket, or just showing up. After that, things start happening. Things that perhaps have God’s fingerprints on them. You’ll know which ones do and which ones don’t. Pick the ones that do.”
I think I have a new resolution to add to my list. Do love. I’m praying about what the first step to doing this is; will you join me? Will you ask God how you can do love in 2013? If you need some inspiration, check out Bob Goff’s book, and give 1 John a read. Guess my resolutions list isn’t so non-life-changing anymore after all.