This much is clear: the storehourse is stocked. The problem is not in the supply; the problem is in the distribution. God has given this generation, our generation, everything we need to alter the course of human suffering.
Max Lucado, Outlive Your Life
(Max is a thoughtful Christian author. I’ve known him for years. His heart is always bent toward grace, and, I think, justice).
(Though we primarily write about business books and business related subjects on this blog, here is a reflection about a terrific author from the “Christian book” market. I hope you don’t mind).
In August of 1930, New York State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Crater simply disappeared. I’ll let Max Lucado pick it up from here:
A search of his apartment revealed one clue. It was a note attached to a check, and both were left for his wife. The check was for a sizable amount, and the note simply read, “I am very weary. Love, Joe.”
The note could have been nothing more than a thought at the end of a hard day. Or it could have meant a great deal more – the epitaph of a despairing man.
Weariness is tough. I don’t mean the physical weariness that comes from mowing the lawn or the mental weariness that follows a hard day of decisions and thinking. No, the weariness that attacked Judge Crater is much worse. It’s the weariness that comes just before you give up. That feeling of honest desperation…
These are words from the first published book by Max Lucado, On the Anvil, and for some reason, the single piece that I most remember from Max.
When I was a minister in a church in California, Max was serving a church in Miami. In those days, we ministers would take each other’s bulletins/newsletters. They would arrive weekly, and I quickly started reading the columns that Max would write every week. I wrote him a note (with pen, and paper – do you remember those days?) and told him he simply had to publish. He says I was the first to encourage him to do so — but I suspect there were many others. (By the way, I still have that first book, On the Anvil, in photocopy form from Max, with a handwritten note asking if I thought it was ready to send to a publisher. Yes, it was!)
Today, he is one of the most widely read and celebrated Christian authors. He does not write academic books – he is a heart builder. And I think there is a place in the world for someone who does that well. And Max does that very well.
I left my denomination, and the ministry, years ago. And my journey has been difficult at times. But I still read Max a little, and know him to be honest, sincere, growing…
He has a new book hitting this week: Out Live Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference. (Max has always been good at titles). I follow Max on Twitter, and a tweet sent me to this article: Max Lucado Focused Social Media Push Next Friday. Here’s an excerpt:
So what makes Max tick? Or more accurately, what makes a Max Lucado book click with readers?
• Biblical message with supporting scriptures
• Easy going, non-preachy writing style
• Broad world view based on contacts and travel outside of the western world (especially helpful with this topic)
• Illustrative original fiction stories
• Practical illustrations from the lives of people he knows
It would be easy for him to rest on his laurels; to assume that his body of writing has reached critical mass and he can just write anything. But he obviously is trying to better his own personal best with each new title.
This is the important line: “he obviously is trying to better his own personal best with each new title.”
Though we have had little contact over the last few years, I know Max well enough to know that this is true about him.
Here is the lesson for all of us: do we keep trying to better our own personal best in every one of our endeavors? Constant innovation – constant improvement. This is the challenge worth tackling, and it never goes away.