Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book review for In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon

I read this book for school, and I had never heard of it before. I had absolutely no idea what it was about. But surprisingly, it impacted me greatly and I believe its message will remain in my mind for a long time to come.
            In His Steps is a fictional story based off of a true event. It’s about a church in a town called Raymond, where the congregation is made up of wealthy, comfortable folks who don’t truly know the meaning of sacrifice. After a shaking experience with the death of a poor homeless man, Reverend Henry Maxwell calls out to his church members and challenges them to take a pledge. This pledge is to not do anything for a year without first asking, “What would Jesus do?” Several members take the pledge, but only the strongest make it through and find out what it really means to take up their cross and follow Him.
             This story was slow entertainment wise, and it didn’t have as much dialogue as I like, but entertainment was clearly not the purpose of this book. The sacrifices that the First Church members made in order to keep the pledge really astounded me. This wasn’t a trivial matter- all who kept the pledge for the full year made life changing decisions. It revealed to them what they did in their daily life that wasn’t in accordance with Christ’s teachings. Sometimes it was the smallest things, but they made all the difference. Take Rachel, instance. She gave up a singing career that guaranteed success, fame, and wealth, all because she believed that Jesus won’t have used a talent like hers for entertaining the rich [SPOILER!]. Because of this decision, her beautiful voice was used to bring many in the Rectangle to the Lord.
            One character’s story that really spoke to me personally was Jasper’s. He was a famed author who took the pledge. He tended to write not what was upright and good but what society wanted to read. This guaranteed his success. But he realized afterward that Jesus won’t write the things he wrote simply for the money. Sadly, he ignored this conviction, abandoned the pledge, and continued on his destructive path. This spoke to me because I have a dream to be an author someday, Lord willing. But I must remember that no matter how many people read my books, I will really only have an audience of one, Jesus. He is the only one I should strive to please, no society and what they desire to read.
            In His Steps really influenced the way I think about following Christ. Now, sometimes before I do something, the thought will pop into my head, “What would Jesus do?” I’m sure I’ve avoided some sticky situations because of this! I still have much learning to do, though. I’m not sure I could walk so closely alongside Christ as Rachel and the others did. I’m so glad I read this book, and although it can easily make you squirm, I suggest you read it too. J
BTW- like the picture? I think I’m going to start adding a picture of the covers of the books I review, so ya’ll can have a mental image in mind when visiting a book store.

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