From the first time I saw the book The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, I knew that God had something to tell me in there (I have already mentioned in a previous post how God led me to buy this book). Actually, He had several messages for me there.
This book doesn’t attempt to address the “whole Gospel”. It doesn’t cover the need of salvation, the coming of Jesus and his death, ressurection, etc. But it does cover what it claims to be the “hole” in our Gospel: the general lack of action from the Church towards those in need, specifically those living in extreme poverty.
In the first part of the book Stearns tells us how he became the CEO of World Vision. He was the CEO of a secular company and he had a very comfortable financial situation. Well, maybe more than comfortable. Than he was challenged by God to accept a job that would bring a considerable change in his life. The job of CEO of World Vision represented a decrease in 75% of his salary. Yet, he felt God was calling him to do it.
That was my favorite part. At that time, when I was reading the book, I was praying to God about my own job, and I was almost certain that He wanted me to quit. So reading Stearns’s own account, his doubts and fears, the financial change that accepting the challenge would bring, they all made me identify with his story.
But the book is not only about Stearns’s challenge. He also talks about the “hole” he mentions in the title, the gap between what our christian life should be and what it is in fact. Here are some inspiring quotes I’d like to share with you:
“When we committed ourselves to following Christ, we also committed to living our lives in such a way that a watching world would catch a glimpse of God’s character – His love, justice, and mercy – through our words, actions, and behavior.”
“Our charge is to both proclaim and embody the gospel so that others can see, hear, and feel God’s love in tangible ways.”
“Even Jesus did not spend every waking hour helping the poor. He dined with the wealthy, celebrated at weddings and feasts, taught in the synagogue, and perhaps even did a bit of carpentry. Still, there is no question that His love for the poor found consistent and concrete expression in His life and ministry.”
“This is not an argument that salvation comes through works, but rather an assertion that one who has committed his life to Jesus will bear quality fruit as evidence of the lordship of Christ.”
Then the last part of the book shows statistics and information about the current state of poverty in the world, and some inspiring true stories of lives that were changed through the work of World Vision. Although I thought it could be more condensed, the information help us see that ending poverty is a challenge that we, regular people, can tackle. We can make a huge difference in the lives of many people.
Obviously, Stearns focuses on World Vision‘s work and how a small monthly amount from the donors can help so many people break the cycle of poverty.
If you want to be challenged, if you want to make a difference, this is a must-read for you.
I leave you with another quote from the book, one that I did and invite you to do too:
What if we each said to God, “Use me; I want to change the world”?