The Christian Broadcasting Network

Max Lucado
Featured Book
Outlive Your LifeOutlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference (Thomas Nelson, 2010)
Web Site
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If you feel like you have no passion or no talent, now can you outlive your life?

(listen to Max's answer)

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Max Lucado: How to Outlive Your Life

By Jennifer E. Jones
Multi-Media Producer

CBN.comPastor and author Max Lucado believes that you can make an impact in your community and around the globe. His new book, Outlive Your Life, shows every day people how to change the world. Billions of people in poverty. One billion starving. Millions sold into modern day slavery. The statistics you give in the beginning of your book are startling. How do we not get overwhelmed by all the evil in the world?

There’s a lot of wisdom in the phrase: “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” It’s when we try to do everything, that’s when we get overwhelmed. When we do nothing, that’s when we get bitter. But if we can find that one thing we do that one unique assignment in our hometown or around the world that’s the way we keep sanity in a difficult culture. For example, if you turn on the TV and see the devastation. It’s one thing after another. The response to that is figuring out what your particular assignment is in the area of compassion and locking into that. It could be sponsoring a child, building a orphanage or something as small as taking food to an elderly couple. It could be as major as uprooting your family and moving to a third world country. Somewhere in there is an assignment that fits your skill set and your time in life. When you find that, you say, “Okay, I can’t fix everything, but I can do one thing. Here’s my one thing.” What do you mean by “letting God unshell you”?

In our culture in the United States, we can successfully live inside of a shell. We can isolate ourselves from the needs of the world, until we have no contact with the world. You can hold up in your house. You can wear earphones every time you run. You can do all of your transactions via the Internet without having any human contact. It’s possible to live inside a shell, but that’s not an option for us. We want to follow the example of Christ. He made people His priority.

The reason we do that is because the need is so overwhelming. The other reason we do that is we’re cynical about poverty. We are a very bootstrap society. "Get up, get after it, and fix it. If you work hard enough, you wouldn’t be poor." There are a lot of people who are poor, because of the place they were born. They were born in a country without paved roads, no education, that doesn’t have any government assistance and doesn’t have clean water. A lot of us were born on third base; they weren’t even born on the team. Those are the people who we should have a burden for.

How do we find these people? We team up with specialists who have learned to separate the legitimate concerns from those that are not. We do so in the concert of our own community of church in our hometown. In a church, we can have accountability. We can determine what the needs are that we can truly meet.

There are so many that have gone before us. We don’t have to invent the treatment. Someone else is doing it somewhere. If I have a concern about clean water, I don’t have to figure out how to drill a water well. Somebody knows how to do it; I just need to find the people who do it and partner. It’s a biblical principle. In Acts 6, when the widows were being neglected in the distribution of food, the response of the apostles was, "Give us your best men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We’ll turn this problem over to them." There’s a principle there. Give us your best thinkers. Give us your best workers. The rest of us come along side them and support them. How is this next generation going to embrace this instead of hiding behind the wall of technology?

That’s the challenge of that generation. On the other hand, they have a real allergy to hypocrisy. They don’t tolerate phonies. That’s resulting in a real commitment to justice and compassion. There’s a great outpouring among the younger generation in the willingness to go on missions trips that did not exist 40 years ago. They have a real sense of compassion. I’m optimistic about what God is doing. Another point you made in the book is Christians being people of compassion. How do we do that?

In our family, we’ve had to make an effort to get to know our neighbors. It started with a confession of, “I’m sorry we’ve lived next to you all this time and never got to know you.” Our church right now is all about neighbors. Our goal is to get people away from our church building and into their neighborhoods. We’ve found that people really want to open their doors. They want to go back to front yard conversations. Hospitality is this generation’s greatest tool. People are so lonely and isolated. It stands out in our culture as being unique. It also doesn’t take any money. If you have a front door and a kitchen table, you can be hospitable. That’s how the New Testament church grew. They opened their doors to each other, and I think we have an opportunity to that again.

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