Today’s review is of a short book by popular preacher and author Max Lucado. You can find it in the BAC library under 242.0 LUC.
Max Lucado, Give it All to Him: A Story of New Beginnings. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. 58 pp. 0849944783, 9780849944789. BV4921.3.L83.
This book revolves around a parable of people carrying garbage bags containing the consequences of their sins around with them at all times. Jesus offers to take their garbage if they meet him on Friday at the dump. This reminded me of Walter Wangerin’s Ragman (0060526149) in which Jesus offers new rags for old. Wangerin is a much better story teller but the point is the same.
Lucado falls into an all too common preaching trap. That is, he uses an old story and tells it like it is ongoing. In this case he refers to the case of the Pelicano, a ship that collected Philadelphia’s trash during a 1986 strike. Lucado has her still plying the seas in 2004 (p.5). In searching for more information I came across many other preachers who later used this illustration and still have her plying the seas. Lucado references Jerry Schwartz, “Where Does One Stash That Trash Ash?” San Antonio Express News, 3 September 2000, sec. 29A so presumably he is not the one to blame. However, a quick search turned up this Times article which says that the Pelicano had dumped her cargo by October of 1988. This seems a lot more realistic that her sailing the ocean for 18+ years. This may seem rather quibbling so I will now turn to a theological point.
Lucado is also author of He Chose the Nails so it is not surprising that he focuses on that aspect of Jesus’ life in this book as well. In wanting to theologically emphasise Jesus’ decision to allow himself to be crucified Lucado states: “[Jesus] knew the source of those sins was you, and since he couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without you, he chose the nails…Had the soldier hesitated, Jesus himself would have swung the mallet…as a Saviour he knew what it meant…So Jesus himself swung the hammer” (p.41).
This preaches well and I’m sure it impacted people but it is not the voice with which the Gospel writers speak. They talk of his desire to follow God’s will rather than his own; John records him announcing “it is finished.” Mark uses passive verbs throughout this section in his account and is joined by Matthew in portraying him as forsaken. Luke gives him some control and John goes furthest showing that he is completing his mission. None potray the lamb who takes away the sin of the world as grabbing the knife from his captors in his eagerness to die so that we might have life.
I think I’ve said enough about such a short book. Read it for yourself and tell me what you think!