Pastor and author Kyle Idleman did an informal survey via social media with just one question.
“Finish this sentence: Jesus became real when . . .”
The hundreds of responses he received, some general (“I had no one else to turn to.”) and some specific (“My husband was killed in a car accident.”), could be wrapped up in this single response: “I came to the end of me.”
Nowhere else in Scripture is this blessed emptiness portrayed more vividly than in Jesus’ Beatitudes, and The End of Me utilizes this passage as a launch pad for the truth that “blessings begin and fulfillment is found in the least likely place – the end of ourselves.”
Surrounded by Jews who prided themselves on measurable righteousness and embedded in a culture of Roman conquest, empiricism, and blustering ego, Jesus made the alarming statement that “taking inventory and coming up with zero . . . means we’re making progress.” Now that I think of it, that message goes against our present-day mindset:
“We want to be made whole without having been broken.”
The problem is that we are all broken. However, in Jesus’ upside-down kingdom, this is the pre-requisite for being comforted, inheriting the earth, and being satisfied, (Matthew 5:3-6).
Kyle’s three-sentence assessment of Western culture regarding pain is stunning:
“We do everything we can to stay away from suffering in the first place. But when we do suffer, which is inevitable, we do everything we can to stay away from mourning. Then, when we catch ourselves mourning, we do all in our power to make it go away.”
While we knock ourselves out trying to avoid neediness, the fact remains that, in his earthly ministry, Jesus was in the business of filling empty things: jars of wine at the Wedding in Cana, a misspent life at a well in Samaria, a crowd of growling stomachs in a “desert place.” What if we were to embrace the truth that our emptiness — our weakness, confusion, mourning, discouragement — “creates the space that God fills with his strength?”
The End of Me chronicles the way of the narrow gate — it leads to life! Kyle Idleman helps his readers to see that what appears to be the end, may just be the beginning of something better, so in his unpacking of Jesus’ counterintuitive truth, I found myself smiling! His bottom-of-the-page footnotes are incredible, and just a word of advice: if you ever see him standing in line at a checkout counter . . . choose another line.
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.”
Subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews from Living Our Days delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.
I link-up with these communities on a regular basis: Looking Up, Soli Deo Gloria Connections, Inspire Me Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tell His Story, Coffee for Your Heart, Live Free Thursdays, Faith-Filled Fridays, Grace and Truth, Fellowship Friday, Still Saturday, The Weekend Brew, Sunday Stillness, Faith and Fellowship, Blessing Counters, Women with Intention, Sharing His Beauty, Monday Musings, Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Small Wonder, Playdates with God, A Little R & R, Beloved Brews, SusanBMead, Faith Along the Way, Cozy Reading Spot, Reflect, Literacy Musing Mondays, Purposeful Faith, The Loft, Words with Winter, Rich Faith Rising, Encourage Me Monday, Tuesday Talk, What to Read Wednesday, Booknificent Thursday, Give Me Grace, Three-Word Wednesday, Word-filled Wednesdays, Faith ‘n Friends, Essential Things