Let’s face it. To dedicate your children to God means you have to be radically different from the people in your community. Sadly, you may very well have to be willing to be radically different from the people in your Church. The very idea of standing out from the crowd and perhaps even challenging the crowd, makes most Christians settle for living a life that is ordinary.
Somewhere along the line, we have lost the willingness to be different and put everything on the line for God. We are afraid of being teased, unpopular or having people gossip about our unusual behavior and choices. Frankly, I am not even sure we would know what putting everything on the line for God would look like in our comfortable American lives.
My favorite thing about the new book Sent, by Hilary Alan is that it tells the story of a family who was willing to take a chance and give everything to God. The Alan’s were a family living the American dream – great jobs, nice home, good kids, good schools. They would have even described themselves as faithful, involved Christians. They attended services regularly, helped in the work of a local congregation and made sure their children attended youth events.
Their story isn’t about their “perfect life”, though. It is about how this family woke up out of the trance of “having it all” and gave up everything to serve God in southeast Asia. Ms. Alan not only goes into detail about how they were moved to turn their lives upside down, but also the consequences of their decision to give up the comfortable life they had in exchange for the uncertainty of going where they believe God sent them.
There are several excellent books on the market today about how to live a life fully for God. If you are someone who loves non-fiction writing, they are great for delving into the nitty gritty of scripture analysis and tips for how to put scriptures into action. Some people, however, prefer the storytelling style of a novel. The ability to actually visualize a concept in action and feel the emotions of the various people involved, can motivate these readers in a way the average non-fiction book never could.
The best thing about Sent, is that it is a true story. I believe Ms. Alan did her best to paint an accurate picture of what putting everything on the line for God does to your world. This is not a Pollyanna story, where everything goes smoothly because this family was sacrificing almost everything they knew to serve God in a far away place. She recounts the highs and the lows of their experience as a family and her own personal journey during the process.
Sometimes, we need courage to make the types of huge changes in our lives God may want us to make. It is way too easy to convince ourselves God wants us to stay in our comfortable worlds and give Him a little help in our spare time. Reading Sent, may just convince you God wants more than your excess. If nothing else, it should make you honestly examine what you would or would not be willing to give to or give up for God.
I would highly recommend this book to parents and teens. (Her children even put in their own thoughts at the end of the book.) After your family has finished reading Sent, have some discussions about what God really wants from each of you and your family as a whole. It may not mean a move to Asia, but I am guessing for almost all of us, some important changes in our lives may result from truly listening to God’s call.
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my review. I am painfully honest though and would tell you if I had concerns. I loved this book and can’t wait for the rest of my family to read it.