catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 3 :: 2011.02.11 — 2011.02.24


The second book on my shelf

It’s an old book.  Why, it was a fairly old book even when I read it as a teenager, but I would have to say that, apart from the Bible, no single book has made a greater impact in my life. Published in 1896 (see I told you it was old), In His Steps written by Charles Monroe Sheldon, has sold over 39 million copies.

It’s a simple story with uncomplicated words on its pages; a child could read it.  In a nutshell, a church full of people are challenged to live their lives as though they were walking in the steps of Christ, doing just what he would do.  Perhaps you are familiar with the What Would Jesus Do? bracelets that were such a big deal a few years ago? That’s where they came from.

I keep that book in my office, in my bookcase, even today.  The cover is ratty, dog-eared and faded, but it continues to serve me as a reminder, a silent accountability partner.  From time to time, it asks me “How are you doing?” And I know just what that means.  Am I considering not what Jesus would do, because after all, I’m not Jesus, but am I considering what he would want me to do as I live out my life? 

Jesus boiled it all down for us into two commandments: love me and love your neighbor.  So when I want to know if I am walking in his steps, I just have to hold my choices up to that mirror.  Do my words and actions reflect his will, his commands, his steps?  Are they loving?

And not just loving to my family and friends and co-workers, but loving to the larger world of those without? How loving would the poor in my city think me? The uneducated women in third world countries? The kids whose parents died of AIDS in Africa?  I know I can’t do it all, but do they appear to matter at all to me? What would Jesus have me to do? What part would he have me play?

Am I, as a Christ-follower, a woman of integrity?  Are the words I say on the inside and the words that come out of me consistent with what I do?  Are they the ones Jesus would have me say from my place in the world?

Oh, that little book is still talking away, still speaking truth into my life from its place as the second on my shelf.

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