The Life You Were Born to Give: Why It's Better to Live Than Receive
Pastor and author David McKinley has developed a thematic Christian primer focusing on the need and responsibility to give, not merely live, one's life. With clever wordplay, another well-known evangelical voice, Zig Ziglar, writes the book's foreword and speaks of McKinley's bottom line message: Christians should be "go-givers" not "go-getters." That said, McKinley begins his three-part text with a quote from Jesus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35). McKinley underscores that everything we have is a gift from God. Once this truth takes root, it will change your perspective. All of life is to be marked by "stewardship and service." McKinley tells readers that life isn't for existing but for distributing.
Before delving into the disciplines of life as a giver, McKinley spends some space examining the basic tenets of the Christian faith as noted in Romans 1-11. In part one, "A Life Delivered," McKinley explains that every person must wrestle with his need for a savior for "God's justice demands satisfaction"; once forgiven, believers will grow passionate to serve God out of love and gratitude. Next, McKinley ventures into detailing what "A Life Devoted" as described in Romans 12: 1-2 looks like and how a Christian's heart, mind and will are regenerated and energized to fully dedicate their lives to God.
Finally, McKinley offers the meat of the text in "A Life Distributed," which highlights Romans 12-16. This is where he offers fellow believers the nuts and bolts of a service-oriented life. Readers will glean fresh takes on how every Christian is gifted to serve, lifted to love, shaped by experiences, called to influence, entrusted to invest, tested by time, set free to live responsibly, strengthened to encourage and blessed to be a blessing.
One of McKinley's most helpful segments is his simplified discussion of spiritual gifts. He shares how spiritual gifts fall into three categories: gifts of service (prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership and mercy); gifts of signs (tongues, miracles, healings...given "to provide authenticity to the messengers of the church"); and gifts of support (apostleship, prophecy, evangelism and teaching). McKinley notes that these gifts were conferred to the church for its "enablement, establishment, and encouragement" and that each gift is supernatural in origin, personal in distribution, functional in design and beneficial to others.
While McKinley's warm approach to each segment of this topic is contagious, it is his humility that is perhaps the most compelling. With every self-disclosing story, he reveals his own struggle with living out this "giving life." Readers will relate amidst chuckles and some sober introspection just how essential this message is for anyone serious about following Christ. One of McKinley's most telling refrains is that it doesn't matter who we are or where we are in life; if we're honest, "we realize we are much more debtors than we are achievers." McKinley convinces believers that giving truly is better than receiving.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on February 6, 2007