Seven years earlier he was able to fill the shelves of bookstores with The Purpose Driven Church.
These books have been on my shelves for years, but for some reason, I've never read them. I've never even opened them. I don't know why, just never felt the urge to. Maybe it's because I had categorized it as another self-help book that belongs next to stuff about finding your best life and steps to a happy life with God. I'm turned off by books like that because they tend to water down the gospel to emotional uplift with theology that is more about expanding the pocket book and raising the gitty-meter than following in the ways of Jesus. They are more interested in Americanizing than discipling...but enough of that before I go on a longer rant.
I began working on a sermon yesterday for January 3rd and I've decided to preach on purpose. We all want to live with purpose and meaning. We want our lives to have significance.
So, I began thinking...a guy wrote a book that sold over 30 million copies. He made so much money off the book that he returned his 25 years of salary to the church and quit taking a salary, and I'm going to assume that his annual salary was a little higher than the average Church of Christ minister. Just an assumption. He and his wife "reverse tithe." Instead of tithing 10%, they tithe 90% and live off 10%.
AND ALL THIS BECAUSE HE WROTE A BOOK ON ONE WORD, "PURPOSE".
Not bad. I wish I would have come up with the brilliant idea.
He writes with great certainty. The opening words are as follows:
"By the end of this journey you will know God's purpose for your life and will understand the big picture--how all the pieces of your life fit together. Having this perspective will reduce your stress, simplify your decisions, increase your satisfaction, and, most important, prepare you for eternity."
Within the first few statements, Rick Warren was able to lure people in. He hooked them because he went after the desire of every one's heart...to live with purpose.
So, I picked up the book yesterday and I gave it a read. All 40 chapters. All 319 pages. I wasn't so much interested in personal reflection as much as I was interested in this question, "Why were over 30 million copies sold"?
The book was very basic and simple. There weren't innovative ideas. It was void of mind-boggling revelations about God. In fact, I don't remember ever thinking, "I've never heard that before" or "I've never heard it put that way."
It was a good book, and I could even recommend it to someone interested in spiritual growth.
This isn't a knock on Rick Warren, because I really like him, and it's not a knock on the book, but the fact that 30 million copies were sold tells me more than the content of the book. People want to live with purpose.
Are we presenting the gospel in a way that gives meaning to lives?
Are we living the life of Jesus in a way that redefines a purposeful life?
Just some thoughts.