“Every time we see someone God made as just ordinary, we turn wine back into water” – Bob Goff
I’M READING Bob Goff’s very readable book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World. Bob tells stories and does it well. This book is a collection of stories with a life lesson in each one. Sometimes it reads like a devotional book; other times it seems to read like an adventure novel. Regardless, the stories are all from Bob’s experiences and show an incredible insight into the daily miracle of our lives.
One of the best reviews I’ve come across is by J R Forasteros in Relevant Magazine:
Each of Bob’s stories is another opportunity for him to love God more, and share that love with the people around him. For Bob, the whole world is an invitation from God:
“I think God sometimes uses the completely inexplicable events in our lives to point us toward Him. We get to decide each time whether we will lean in toward what is unfolding and say yes or back away. The folks who were following Jesus in Galilee got to decide the same thing each day because there was no road map, no program, and no certainty. All they had was this person, an idea, and an invitation to come and see.”
At some point, the cynic in me finally gave in. It’s clear that Bob isn’t trying to over-spiritualize his life. He simply sees the world as one big opportunity. He talks about God working in every story because he really thinks God is always working in his life. Because he just keeps saying Yes to whatever crazy adventure happens next
Bob’s not a pastor. He’s a lawyer. He’s got a wife and kids. He’s had every excuse to live an ordinary life. But instead, Bob says Yes. And the stories that result from that answer will astound you. How he met his wife, the capers he and his friends do, the time his kids invited themselves over to every major world leader’s houses (and the ones who said Yes)… they go on and on and on.
If you’re determined to be a cynic, there’s stuff to quibble about.
For instance, Bob and his friends replace their Bible Studies with Bible Doings. We cynics might claim Bob is being anti-intellectual here, but that’s clearly not his agenda. Rather, Bob is offering us a remedy to a Christian culture that spends its time infighting over doctrine rather than imitating Jesus. As he says:
“I want to pick a fight because I want someone else’s suffering to matter more to me. I want to slug it out where I can make a meaningful difference. God says He wants us to battle injustice, to look out for orphans and widows, to give sacrificially. And anyone who gets distracted with the minutiae of this point or that opinion is tagging out of the real skirmish.”
Stymied there, we cynics may finally scoff, shrug our shoulders and attribute Bob’s vitality to personality—some people are just born that way. His story’s cool, but it’s not practical for everyone to live like that.
But here’s the thing: Bob’s obviously a pretty ordinary guy. He doesn’t have superpowers. He’s not fifty times smarter than everyone else (read the story about how he got in to Law School!). It’s clear from Love Does that he wasn’t “just born” adventurous and gregarious. He’s made a habit of saying Yes to whimsy and adventure, saying Yes to a life that’s bigger, more abundant than we imagine.(Read the full review here.)
What cones across to me, in reading this book, is Bob’s amazing ability to be adventurous, take risks, be vulnerable, and live big, generously, Who wouldn’t want to buy into that?!