Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Review: Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road by Timothy Keller

This is the first book I’ve read by listening to an audiobook. A friend told me about the Free Download of the Month on because TK’s book was featured in August. This book uses the Parable of the Good Samaritan as a basis for explaining mercy ministry. The idea is that, just as in the parable, there are needy people in our “path” of life, so God is calling us to be ministers of mercy. All of us. Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when the person “really deserves it.” Not just when the person really really really needs it. We don’t help ourselves in that way, so why would we treat another person that way? 

The book starts with loads of (sobering) statistics about the poor, the needy, the destitute, and then gives a Biblical framework for why we should help and how we should help, both as individuals and as a church. The last chapters are incredibly practical with ideas, lists, strategies, goals, etc. It’s realistic about various types of situations and scenarios, but at the same time brutally forthright about many of the excuses we make to avoid mercy ministry and how unbiblical they are. I was certainly convicted of some of my attitudes about how and when to offer mercy, as well as how I view the poor and needy. Certainly if God offered me mercy and lavishly loved me while I was yet a sinner (which He did), and if I have many times repaid God’s mercy with disdain or disinterest (which I have), as a result I should be willing to offer mercy and help even half as lavishly, and offer it to those who may at times “repay” me with disinterest or disdain. Really. Challenging. But oh so good to hear and apply! This book is a helpful read for both individuals and churches seeking to further understand and develop ways to offer mercy.

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