Outlive Your Life – Summary
Max Lucado’s book, Outlive Your Life, is an inspiring book about God’s intentions for us to leave a legacy and an impact on the world which far surpasses our actual years upon it.
He begins with the Biblical proof and precedent that this is, indeed, God’s plan for our lives. He then addresses some of our hindrances, most notably our fear that we aren't "special" enough to be used by reminding us God has a thing for using the average Joe, and our tendency to cocoon ourselves from the problems around us. It is easy to live ignorant and in denial, because then we can spend our time and money on ourselves, but if we hope to be a change agent in the world, if we hope to outlive our lives, we must come out of our shell and open our eyes to the needs around us.
There are a lot of needs and it can be overwhelming, and distracting…so he reminds us that as we open our eyes, we must stay centered on the most important thing—Jesus, the bread of life. We can go about taking care of all manner of needs, but if we don’t attend to the great, central need, the need for Jesus, we miss the point.
It’s important to work in community, as the body of Christ, not as the Lone Ranger. This is how God intended it, and it’s more effective. If we truly want to outlive our lives, we will do best by doing so in partnership with the body of Christ.
The remaining chapters give some practical ways that God laid out for us to have a meaningful impact on the world. In each chapter, Lucado gives several examples of how these things have been done well—examples taken from the Bible and from more modern examples.
- See people, really see them, and see their needs
- Be strong in times of persecution
- Humility, do good but do it quietly
- Stand up for the have-nots
- Reject racism, prejudism, judgmentalism , etc. from your life, and work to eradicate it in society
- Know that there’s no one God can’t reach. Don’t give up on your unreached friends. (He uses Saul as an example.)
- Incarnation—don’t just love from a distance, but join those you feel called to minister to, as Jesus was incarnate, God in the flesh. Father Damien so loved the lepers that he joined a leper colony to better minister to them. He considered himself one of them and gave his life to love them well.
- Service – whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto Jesus (Matthew 25:40)