Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. Enjoy!
As someone who read Bob Goff’s Love Does a few years ago, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his newest release, Everybody, Always. And it did not disappoint.
If you’ve never read one of Bob’s books or heard him speak, he is a talented storyteller who believes in “the power of extravagant love and excessive grace” in our lives and in the world. In Everybody, Always, Bob tells stories that highlight what it means to do just that: love everybody—even the ones that are hard to love.
One of my favorite things about Bob’s writing is that he has a way of presenting truths—many of which we already know and agree with—in incredibly striking, and many times, convicting ways. And Bob uses all kinds of stories to illustrate his point, from skydiving with his son, to encountering unexpected piloting challenges, to fighting darkness as a lawyer in Uganda. But one of my favorite stories is about his neighborhood’s annual parade.
For the last 22 years, Bob and his family have put on a New Year’s Day parade in their neighborhood. What started as 8 people walking down the street and waving to neighbors who happened to be outside has now become something that hundreds from the neighborhood participate in. And there’s nothing fancy about the parade—it’s simply children lining up with their wagons filled with stuffed animals and people carrying colorful balloons. But I just love the why behind these festivities.
Bob explains, “Here’s why we do it: we can’t love people we don’t know. You can’t either. Saying we love our neighbors is simple. But guess what? Doing it is too. Just throw them a parade. We don’t think Jesus’ command to ‘love your neighbor’ is a metaphor for something else. We think it means we’re supposed to actually love our neighbors. Engage them. Delight in them. Throw a party for them. When joy is a habit, love is a reflex.”
There’s something so simple about this idea of knowing our neighbors to love them well. And that starts with taking action—doing the work to make these people a part of our lives. So much of this book is about just that: taking action instead of letting fear get in the way of loving others. Does that mean we don’t seek wisdom before we act? Of course not. Bob sums it up so well when he says, “The difference between a prudent pause and persistent paralysis is a distinction worth knowing.” In other words, we should spend time in prayer and seek counsel, but we should also know when we are letting fear stop us from taking action and loving people well.
The rest of Bob’s book is filled with stories about people loving other boldly. Toward the close of his book, Bob tells the story of his encounter with Ugandan witch doctors. I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say it’s an amazing story about the power of God’s grace and love in even the darkest of places. I could go on and on about the stories Bob tells in this book, but you’ll have to read the rest for yourself. 🙂
If you’re looking for a book full of redemption stories, challenges, unconventional characters, and a reminder of God’s extravagant love, pick this one up. You won’t regret it.
Jessica Yentzer is a digital specialist and community manager on LifeWay’s Adult Ministry team. Well-written memoirs, dark chocolate, a good running trail, and the perfect, fall day are just a few of the things that put a smile on her face. When she’s not planning editorial calendars or writing, she loves hiking and exploring the outdoors with her husband, Grant.