Over a hundred years ago, before Christian Bookstores made bank on the phrase WWJD in the 90’s, Charles Sheldon wrote a book called “In His Steps,” where a pastor asks his church to pledge to do only what Jesus would do for a year.
Apparently this book is a best-seller, but I only heard about it because I’m pre-reading my daughter’s literature list for next year. The fiction account gives us an avenue where we can interact with how a variety of people across all social and economic classes react to the call. I found it inspiring, fresh, and challenging.
Here’s an excerpt:
Vast quantities of food and clothing and large sums of money were donated by the churches, the charitable societies, the civic authorities, and the benevolent associations. But the personal touch of the Christian disciple was very hard to secure for personal work. Where was the discipleship that was obeying the Master’s command to go itself to the suffering and give itself with its gift in order to make the gift of value in time to come?
“The Bishop found his heart sink within him as he faced this fact more than any other. Men would give money who would not think of giving themselves. And the money they gave did not represent any real sacrifice because they did not miss it. They have what was the easiest to give, what hurt them the least. Where did the sacrifice come in? Was this following Jesus? Was this going with Him all the way?” (In His Steps, p 213)
I really appreciated the fact that Mr. Sheldon didn’t declare to know the only right way to follow Jesus. A variety people wrestled with the question of what Jesus would do, and the answer wasn’t a cookie-cutter approach to life. They each had to decide for themselves based on their own situations, upbringings, and talents. They also realized that in order to answer correctly, they needed to know more about Jesus, which led to a more passionate study of His Word.
I highly recommend this book. I consider it a modern-day parable. Rather than a “Christian Living” book that tells you what you are supposed to do, this book shows you how it could be done.
Now I wish I had my old WWJD leather bracelet I wore in high school. Fad or no, it is a reminder I need daily. Now I’m left with the challenge of looking at my life in light of what Jesus would do if he were a home schooling mom of 4 sitting comfortably in the Midwest. It’s not a question that can be answered quickly.
What about you? Have you ever thought about what you would change?
And do you still have any of your old WWJD paraphernalia sitting around? Maybe I could borrow it for awhile.