And no, I’m not talking about “well done books” in the burning sense…. but rather “well done” in the “parable of the stewards” sense of Matthew 25, because that’s where this book takes its cue from.
Full disclosure alert: I was editor for this book and wrote the small-group sessions, and was editor for the youth version of Dwayne’s first book which also just released last month. That said, there’s a reason that I and my marketing manager (or was I her editor? Hi Amy!) went to the leadership team and pushed for both books until we finally got our way. Now it’s your turn to find out why.
Let’s face it, this whole “God rewards us in the next life for what we do in this one” thing is a tricky subject. It sounds egotistical. Self-serving. Kind of arrogant, actually. And really, on the other end of that, is there really any way that anything I do is good enough for God to call “well done”?
And yet, it’s a thoroughly biblical principle, and as Dwayne points out, a very logical one: When you love another person, you want that person to be happy. And you want to know you’ve made him or her happy. You want to see and experience their joy, because you love them. Very little in this life beats that feeling. How much more so then with God, the creator of all persons and things, who loves and desires to take joy in us?
As a noted worship leader and teacher, Dwayne knows a little bit about taking joy in Jesus, and he shares that knowledge with us—again, in a way that’s thoroughly biblical as well as often quite personal. Dwayne walks us through the elements of a life well-lived, and shows us not only that such a life is possible but one that God calls every one of us to.
This 6-week study contains five daily devotionals and a small-group session for each week; therefore, it works for individuals as well as with churches or small groups. (Brilliant editorial decision, that. :)) Each devotional includes opportunities to stop and reflect, as well as opportunities to do something tangible with what you’re learning, including “My Daily Response” and “My Daily Meditation” at the end of each day.
And there’s a few places in this book that will just plain get to you. A couple I won’t fully give away: Dwayne’s struggles during the beginning of his own calling from God in his teen years; and the story of 9-year-old Tucker Beam, who fought cancer on three separate occasions, and how he and his parents dealt with it all (I know people who were crying over this one before it even went to press).
And somehow, the following passage from Week 1, Day 1 just got to me more personally, and encapsulates what this book is all about:
“Was there someone in your life who poured time, energy and resources into helping you accomplish a dream?… The crowd is on edge as you step up to the plate to bat or raise your bow to play. This is the moment you’ve dreamed of. And you don’t disappoint. You play your heart out. Your beautiful notes soar all over the music hall. Or your hit goes flying over the outfield fence. The crowd goes wild. Everyone’s on their feet, clapping and shouting.
“But… you’re not thinking about all those other people out there cheering for you. Your eyes scans the crowd for your mom or dad or friend who made all this possible, the one who sacrificed so much so you could have this moment. When your eyes meet, and you see the pure joy and pride on that person’s face, no one else’s applause and no one else’s approval even matters.
“That’s how it is with God’s praise of you and me. Nothing will bring more pleasure to us—or to him.”
Spend some time exploring Heaven’s Praise, and let your mind and heart be opened by how God wants each of us to “finish well.”