A couple weeks ago, I received a message on Goodreads offering me a copy of Richard Stearns’ new book, Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning, to review.
I immediately said yes, please. Stearns is the CEO of World Vision, and you know how strongly I support their work. I was expecting this book to be similar to his earlier book, A Hole in Our Gospel, which spoke of the need to respond to the incredible suffering of the impoverished world wide.
It isn’t. The scope of Unfinished is both broader and more personal. In it, Stearns calls Christians to examine their lives, to assess whether they are truly following Christ or merely claiming the benefits he offers.
Are we, he asks, true disciples, committed to expanding the kingdom of God? Are we meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the world? Are we taking Christ’s message and love, in word and deed, to the farthest corners of the world? Are we even bringing them to the corner where we live?
Or have we become mere consumers of Christianity? Looking for a way to fulfill ourselves, an insurance policy against damnation, something to make us feel better about our lives, and frustrated when it does not? Are we sitting in the pews, teaching our Sunday School classes, serving on committees, and still feeling like we’re missing out on something?
If we are not engaged in the mission Christ left for us, we are missing out. If we are leaving the Great Commission to the professionals, we are disregarding our true purpose and denying ourselves the very fulfillment we seek.
So how do we figure out our role in expanding the kingdom of God? How do we live lives of meaning and purpose, right where we are? Unfinished guides us through these questions, helping us to discover our own part in growing the kingdom of God.
Stearns’ admits that he is preaching to the choir in Unfinished, that those who read his book will most likely be Christians who are seeking lives of service, but, as he says, even choir members need a kick in the pants sometimes.
God’s timing is always perfect. I received this book just as I’ve been pondering this very topic. Pondering too long, frankly. I had just taken a first step towards responding, and was already second guessing myself.
My seat has been kicked. I am moving forward.