This is an excellent, convicting, concrete, cross-centered, gospel-filled, immensely helpful and humble book. We have already ordered copies to have available at our church.
I decided to read this book because Mahaney himself and those who serve with him exude such a real, tangible spirit of gracious humility- not simply the negative side of not being puffed up, but also the positive side of actively noting evidences of grace in others.
This is such a rare thing, and I wanted to hear from one who evidences this grace.
Anyone might compile the appropriate verses and comment on them. This book, however, is the fruit of wrestling with the Scriptures and his own soul over a number of years. As such it is a great example of real soul work.
I have wrestled for weeks about how to write appropriately about this book. It may take several posts, but let me go ahead and comment on why this book is useful for pastors in particular. It would be great for anyone, but here are some thoughts on why this is a good book for pastors, specifically, to read:
1. Pastors are often thought of as arrogant people and much that is out there in terms of leadership material only encourages this more. This book is a good reminder of the way of Jesus. Here are a couple of notes I jotted down while reading this book:
“Note how self-centered, self-adulating, self-advancing so much church literature and pastoral bio’s are.”
“Is there any wonder we lack the power of God?”
2. The book itself is a great example of pastoral work, what the Puritans called “soul work.” We have here an example of a wise pastor dissecting the messiness in our souls and applying the balm of the gospel. This is our work (in spite of what is often said today), and here we have an example to imitate.
3. We are responsible to lead our people away from the paths of pride that seem so natural to us (especially once they are decorated with church trappings), and towards the way of humility that is so foreign to us. As Mahaney writes, “If humility is to endure in our families and churches, it must be cultivated by parents and pastors and passed on to our families and churches” (156).
4. Lastly, some who rightly emphasize the need for substance in teaching fail to apply truths in compelling, concrete ways. Mahaney excels at this and can serve as a model.
I would urge everyone to get this book and read it. Skip a couple of meals in order to get the money to purchase it if necessary.