It was 2013 when I was part of an internship with San Francisco City Impact. I served in one of the worst districts in San Francisco. During my time, I was privileged to serve along with so many God fearing staff and volunteers that have become family to me. I considered myself even more fortunate to have shared a small single room with 3 guys that eventually became 3 of my close friends while in San Francisco. One of those guys suggested several books for me to read, but the one book he recommended was one titled, Love Does by Bob Goff. The district I served in had a very small selection of book stores that carried little to no Christian literature. I did not want the e-reader version, so this meant I was not able to buy a paperback version until I returned home. Once I entered my local bookstore, I came across the only remaining copy of this book. In my excitement, I right away purchased it.
With this title being a New York Times Best Seller including Nicki Gumble and Louie Giglio (two speakers I enjoy listening to) sharing praise in the first few pages, it definitely carried some high recognition. This only created more desire for me to read and understand what this book was all about.
Love Does is a compilation of true short stories that takes Bob himself into some of the wildest journeys of his life. Through 31 engaging chapters, Bob shares brilliant stories of his life. The subtitle states, "Discover a secretly incredible life in an ordinary world", and it certainly does just that. With unforgettable experiences from his own life, Bob shares these stories of how God's Love radiates in each story. It is the relationships of his family, friends, and even complete strangers that he considers influential and inspirational to his own life about what love actually does (hence the title). Goff's first published entry most definitely falls under as 'Inspirational' and 'Feel Good' as he beautifully explains some of the immeasurable grace and love God has for us.
I started reading a chapter once a week, but that did not last long as I was soon hooked. I was reading every free amount of time I had. Goff's writing was a joy to read from beginning to end. I actually was debating with myself which one of his stories was my favourite. His simple straight forward approach alongside his witty humour made all his words feel real to me. The way Goff writes I could connect with. His stories along with his sense of humour actually made me laugh out loud a few times. I just could not believe some of the situations he got himself into as well as be a part of. However, it is Goff's ability to see a situation that most would view as ordinary or normal; and actually see it as a teachable lesson of God's love is his biggest strength in this book. Almost all the chapters are my favourite, but to narrow things down, oddly enough, the first and last chapters of this book stood out for me.
Love Does is rich in quotes. I would almost rather consider them as brilliant observations that actually gets the reader scratching their head thinking, "Wow I never thought about God's Love that way". I would say the last 2 paragraphs of most chapters has a bountiful supply of quotes and messages that will strike the heart in ways I did not know were possible. Sharing just one quote does not scratch the surface, but here is one that I greatly appreciated:
"There are lots of things in life you and I don't get invited to, though. I've never been invited to the Oscars or to Paul McCartney's birthday party or to a space shuttle launch. If I got an invitation to any of those things, or for that matter, to the real White House Easter egg hunt, I'd definitely go. There's nothing like feeling included. There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I'm tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn't come in an envelope. It's ushered in by a sun rise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It's the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I've seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live." - page 79/80
It's clear Goff focuses on God's Grace, Mercy, and Love. However, Hebrews 12:6 mentions that God "disciplines those he loves". Although I greatly enjoyed all of Goff's uplifting message(s), I was hoping he would have added one more story from his rich catalog that could have related 'God's Discipline' as another form of what 'Love Does'. Regardless, it is a curiosity I had and it certainly does not mount to any criticism.
Love Does did not live up to my expectations...it blew them out of the water. I really cannot remember a book that actually gave me such a vibrant outlook on life. This was rewarding and a joy to read. Goff most certainly struck many chords with my life and the life I want to live. I love the humility in his words. He never comes across as a know it all which actually surprises me considering he states that one of his professions is a lawyer. Love Does is a testament to the life God wants us to live, especially when God's two greatest commandments centre around the theme of love. This is for everyone to read, no matter what background or faith one has. The stories alone will captivate most readers. Even if some do not agree with its messages, Love Does will at least provide incredible and enjoyable moments worth reading.
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