The office where I work has a collection of books that the senior staff believed will help encourage us and strengthen us in our jobs. I was interested to find a book by Gary Haugen, the founder of International Justice Mission, among the pile. One of my friends works for IJM, so I was excited to read about the beginnings of this organization. I also wanted to see what the work of IJM had to do with the work that I do in my church office.
The book is short, so it honestly is a nice pick-me-up, but if you really let the words settle into your soul, it will rock your world. Haugen talks about his journey founding IJM, as well as the stories of some of his associates who have changed the world in big, brave ways. At first, I thought this book would just be filled with success stories and a shout-out to the great staff at IJM. But it also includes a challenge, a challenge to give up our safe and take on our brave.
Haugen uses the analogy of the cul-de-sac to describe how Christianity is today. Most people feel that keeping their houses in a cul-de-sac area is safer because it is only one-way traffic. However, studies have shown that more accidents occur in these areas than in other areas. Therefore, we were wrong about what would be best for our children and families.
He expands on this idea of a cul-de-sac by saying that we tend to play safe in church. We like our comfortable house, our kids, our pets, our finances, and we don’t really see life beyond that. We get dissatisfied. And the reason we get dissatisfied is because God has a bigger life for us. He doesn’t want us to be safe; He wants us to be brave. He wants us to trust Him.
I appreciate the work of IJM and the faith of Gary Haugen to start this organization. I will admit that it is not a long book, so there is not much more to discuss. But a powerful sentence can change the course of your day, even the course of your life. Gary Haugen’s book Just Courage, although it is short, packs a punch that gets you thinking. If you let it, this short book could change the course of your life.
In terms of how it relates to my job at the church, and my job as a writer, it reminds me that an act of courage can truly impact the world. The courage that will truly change the world for good, though, is the courage that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. I personally tend to be a fearful person, who even gets nervous going to work on occasion, but when I trust in the strength that God gives me, I am able to drive through traffic, make it to work, talk to people on the phone, interact with my co-workers, and handle all the tasks before me. In my blog post next week, I’m going to share about what courage looks like.