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Recommended Reading For Christians - In His Steps by Charles Sheldon - A Review
"I want to do something that will cost me in the way of sacrifice. I know you will not understand me. But I am hungry to suffer something. What have we done all our lives for the suffering, sinning side of Raymond? How much have we denied ourselves or given of our personal ease and pleasure to bless the place in which we live or imitate the life of the Savior of the world? Are we always to go on doing as society selfishly dictates, moving on its little narrow round of pleasures and entertainments, and never knowing the pain of things that cost?"
So says Rachel Winslow, a young girl with immense singing talent, touched with events that occurred in her church just weeks before. The story begins with a tramp. One who is struggling but yet his fellow man continues to ignore him. On a bright Sunday morning, he interrupts the church of Raymond with a startling question "What did Jesus mean when He said 'Follow me?'"
This episode leads the Reverend to question himself and indeed to put the question to his church - What did Jesus truly mean? And what does it mean to follow Jesus?
Then follows a radical movement. Many prominent figures in the church, along with Reverend Maxwell, decide to try for one year to live as Christ would live. That is, every decision, whether small or big, they would act as Jesus did. They would ask the question -What would Jesus do?
Of course the results are shocking to say the least. Those who take up the gauntlet begin to make sacrifices and realize that they are worth it for they begin to act with zeal doing as Jesus would do. Among them are a newspaper owner, a prominent businessman, an heiress, a writer, a singer admired for her looks along with her voice, as well as others. One or two fall away from the promise and there are those who refused to take up the challenge because they though it unrealistic, become attached to it without even realizing, taking up a call from the great Master Himself. Rollin Page, the brother of the heiress Virginia Page is one of these and his change is one of the best parts of this book.
A Bit About Charles M. Sheldon
As they reach out to The Rectangle a place of doom and despair in the heart of town, though they go to help others, they become the ones who are helped. Their souls are strengthened as they walk in His steps.The fight against the saloon and alcohol is a bitter one and yet it is a fight that had it not been for the tramp, had their eyes not been opened, they would never have fought.
This challenge, this effort to do as Jesus would, soon spreads to other towns where preachers who have felt as though they could do more, be more, heartily take it up for themselves and encourage their flocks to do the same. Some mock, some refuse but others react with a resolve to do just this, for they know it is right.
There are characters from all walks of life in this book and the challenges they face are not unlike the ones we do today. Some sit and consider and ponder and decide that no matter the cost, Christ is worth more just as the man in the parable of the pearl of great price. Some slump into misery for they cannot do as He would. They believe it would cost too much and go away as the rich man who asked what else shall I do Lord? And when he was told, leave everything and follow Me, he became sad, for he had a great many possessions
The popularity of this book and the core question that brought it about still remains today even if people are not familiar with where it comes from. The question, 'What would Jesus Do?' and the abbreviation W.W.J.D. were born out of this book. There are bracelets, pencils, wallets and bookmarks that all have these words written on them to help people remember to try to think upon the acts of Christ and the way He would react to a situation. It has become a part of popular Christian culture but I often wonder how many who wear the question truly reflect upon it?
A timeless classic that I would recommend to anyone.
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