Big plans are great, and, without a doubt, The Great Commission is an invitation to develop a no-holds-barred, pull-out-the-stops strategy to change the world. History provides rich examples of those who did just that: Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, Mary Slessor and many more whose names we will never hear. In Overrated, Eugene Cho asks himself piercing questions about his own ideas, dreams, and visions, and he invites those whom he numbers among “the most overrated generation” in history to come alongside him in his questioning. Could it be that his generation of “game changers” and “history makers” are really more in love with “the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world?”
The son of immigrants, Eugene learned the value of hard work and tenacity at a young age. Called into ministry, it was natural for him to desire more than “just a traditional church,” so he set himself the task of launching a coffee shop as part of the church’s ministry. Overcoming obstacles (most notably of horrible coffee) led to success and the next step: a transition out of a secure position in a suburban church and into an urban church plant — which, at first, did not materialize. Eugene was unemployed for months and then, eventually, under-employed as a janitor. With both humility and humor, Eugene shares his journey through questioning God in the dark about what He had revealed in the light.
Ultimately, with the shattering of his comfortable pre-conceptions about God and ministry, Eugene realized that along with the challenge to “change the world” came the more vexing and humbling invitation to change himself. Drawn to make a difference for those living in poverty, he started One Day’s Wages (ODW), a grassroots movement that asks people to give up what they earned for just one day’s work — about .4 percent of their annual salary — thus, bringing together the very cool, glamorous, feel-good, and heroic notion of “justice” with the loaded truth that justice always comes at a cost.
Overrated challenges 21st century Christians to open their Bibles and to find there the Jesus of downward mobility; to find a gospel-oriented understanding of our acts of righteousness which do not save us, but rather proclaim and bear witness to our faith; to absorb and be changed by truth that will deepen our faith and understanding of God’s call through first knowing the God who calls.
A challenge to self-examination coupled with boots-on-the-ground input for doing justice and doing it justly, Overrated is a blessed reminder that our acts of service are directed toward the God who desires that His children “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him,” (Micah 6:8).
This book was provided by David C. Cook in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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