I typically have a pretty vast and growing knowledge of all the best authors in my favorite genre: Christian Living. I follow a handful of blogs and of course, Twitter makes sure I know all of the right people. But somehow, this Bob Goff guy escaped my radar undetected. Then out of nowhere, I see this Love Does book popping up everywhere all across social media, including some of my favorite athletes Instagram, and even on an Apple commercial!
It's title alone caught my attention but it's growing audience evoked such curiousity out of me. Not to mention the fact that Bob Goff's Twitter account is literally some of the most simple yet profound tweets out there in the social media world! So I gave in and purchased this book from Amazon.
I don't regret that decision one bit! This book was such an easy read. I rarely allow myself a leisure read but this felt a good as a fiction book does. You know that feeling where you can devour pages on end almost similar to a guilty pleasure. Something that happened in this books was that I actually fell in love with Bob, the author. This really just DOES NOT happen most of the time. But from what I know, he seems to be one of those type of people who you can easily love and it's really hard to not like him. I especially like the fact that he calls his wife "sweet Maria". Come on, who doesn't love that?!
On the last page of his book, page 224, he wrote this, "the people in my life who have actually been the most influential have also been the ones who were most available." He then precedes to give everyone who reads this page his personal phone number. Yes, you heard me right! His personal cell phone number! Excuse me while I freak out at the thought of how many texts or phone calls he has probably received since this book is a New York Times Bestseller!
And once again, I am left with the same question that I had before I started to read this book, who is this Bob Goff guy?
Storytellers Always Win My Heart
Like I said, I don't usually pick up a novel to read but few things speak to me as much as a good story does. Therefore, it goes without saying that storytellers are some of my most favorite people in the world to be around. In reality, this book is really just a bunch of stories strung together to give you different ideas of how to love people. But it's the fact that these stories are so stinking amazing that makes this book such a great read!
Like for instance, there's this one story that I really like. Actually, I had a really hard time picking out a favorite because there are A LOT of (and I don't mean that lightly) good stories in this book! But I'll go with the one that I've shared with others the most. It only seems fair that way. So back to this awesome story. Bob shares about how his family responded to the tragic events that happened on 9/11. He walks us through the scene that played out in his house where he eventually followed his children's lead to write letters to many leaders over nations. He writes on page 68 that "the idea was that if world leaders knew what each other were hoping for, then perhaps they could start hoping for the same things." You can find the full story in the chapter entitled, "The Interviews".
These letters were basically requests for a meeting with these national leaders for these kids to ask questions. They sent these letters to EVERY national leader that they could find on the CIA website. Then, Bob and Sweet Maria made a promise to their three children that even if just one responded with a yes that they would go visit them! Bold? Heck yeah! Naive? Probably. Awesome? Absolutely! The crazy thing was that they actually received TWENTY - NINE yes's! Holy Cow! Pack your bags kiddos, it's time for adventure!
So they set off to fulfill their promise and show up for their meetings with these prime ministers, presidents, etc. Bob tells us on page 71 what usually would happen at these interviews, "what would happen more often than not is that the kids would begin in an official reception room and have an official meeting with the leader. But then the leaders would realize these were just kids who had no agenda other than to be friends and they would invite us back to their private offices where they could just talk as friends."
I'll cut to the chase but you should really check out the Russian's response. What he did was really awesome! But here's how each interview ended. Bob shares on page 73 that "at the end of each interview, the kids thanked the leaders for taking the time to meet as they handed over a small red box. Each leader carefully unwrapped their present, lifted the lid, and held up the key to our front door. The kids told each leader that they had really meant it about coming to our home and invited them to bring their keys when they come --- you know, since they were friends now." And one leader actually took them up on that offer, but you'll have to read the book to hear more about that and the rest of the amazing stories that fill each chapter!
Donald Miller + Bob Goff
Do you know Donald Miller, the author? Because I do and I've read some of his stuff. But I don't know him like Bob Goff does. They apparently are really good friends. Enough for Donald to write the forward to this book and to find his way into some of the stories within the chapters. If you know Donald's work, then you probably know that there is also some tension between him and some mainstream theologians/pastors/leaders as well. Regardless, I think it's good to share that this book reads like Donald's books do. Which both Love Does and Donald's work, my personal favorite being Blue Like Jazz, are less about theology or doctrine and more about stories of how our theologies could look like in real life and in action. Donald shares in the forward that "love in the brain changes nothing" and nails this point on the head.
So if you are the factual type or the one who likes to read a ton of doctrine filled books, then Love Does or Donald's books might not sit well with you because perhaps you are looking for theories and not stories. But if you can get pass that, then I think you will really like this book. If you are anything like me, then you will be greatly encouraged by the stories within the pages of this book and you will be compelled to fill your life with similar ones.
May His love fill your hearts to overflowing that your life would be full of stories where love actually does.
Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
by Bob Goff
Published by Thomas Nelson