Blog note: I’m going to be trying to double-post this week. Real thoughts in the morning, book in the evening. Why? Because I looked at the shelf that was “Books to Review” and “Other stuff to be done” and realized: yikes, that’s a lot of books.
Today’s book is Grace by Max Lucado. It’s published, as many of his are, by Thomas Nelson Publishers and available all over the place, except in places where it isn’t but ought to be. It looks a lot like this:
The picture links to the Thomas Nelson webpage, but you’d be wise to check prices. Jungles often provide cheaper books.
The pictures show what the book looks like, but we all know that there is a difference. A real book is multi-dimensional. It has heft, takes up space that isn’t measured in megabytes, and even has its own smell. Real books are a full-sensory experience. Pictures, while helpful, are never quite like the real thing.
Now, amplify that problem by an order of magnitude and you are approaching the problem Max Lucado tackles in Grace. Lucado is attempting to use the ever-confusing English language to describe the matchless grace of an infinite God.
There are at least two ways to tackle that challenge. The first is to use deep theological explanations and go for several hundred pages. Grace chooses the second: short stories, heart-wrenching illustrations, and a split-feeling: it’s just enough but not quite. The former gets tough to read and certainly is not the best of encouragements in times of trouble. The latter is easy to read but sometimes easy to take too lightly.
Is Grace a challenging read? Certainly not and certainly so. The words are fairly easy, the Scripture plainly stated. The concept, though, that none of us deserve the love of God yet it overflows to all is always a challenge. Lucado makes the point, then makes the point again.
It reads, though, like Grace is a final message from Lucado. Having been around preachers for many years, and being one, there is that sense of a valedictory address that you get at times. Where someone is sharing the boiled-down core of what matters most to them. Where someone gives you the last guidance they can give you, as clearly as they can, even if it’s not all you want to know.
That is what I see in Grace: Max Lucado may be moving towards complete retirement, after all. His last book, Max On Life, read as one tying up any loose ends, and this one reads like his “If I had one chance to say something, I’d say this: Grace. You need it, but you don’t deserve it. And it is available through Jesus.”
Not a bad final chapter, if that’s what it is.
As with most of Lucado’s books, this one has a discussion guide in the back which adds value to the text.
Note: Free book from Booksneeze in exchange for the review.