By Benjamin H. Liles
Whole, by Steve Wiens, is an interesting book by far. I have been able to review it and from what I read I truly liked a great deal. The way he writes is reminiscent of Max Lucado, to a degree. Steve Wiens takes certain stories from scripture and embellishes them a little. Bit he does it to draw us a picture. He does it with a gentle grace to get to the point he's trying to make.
Now, for me I don't use the Message Bible. And for some it may fit them and their style. I'm not going out of my way to be overly critical, I'm just stating what doesn't work, for me. My tastes may not be someone else's tastes. Do I like the message Steve is making? I have to give a resounding "YES" to that! Do I? like the text he used? Not so much. But it's just a preference.
What interests me about Steve Wiens and what he's getting across is that we all have a broken part inside of us. Jesus can and does make those parts whole, again. We resist Jesus the Messiah because there are times we think holding on to what we have is good for us. Jesus says otherwise. "If you want to be perfect," Jesus tells the rich young ruler. "Go, sell what you have and give [it] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matthew 19:21, New King James).
We may often think that what we hold on to are our riches, but we aren't. We're holding on to things that keep us from doing God's will in our lives. If we basically take Steve Wiens advice in Whole, we also need to take the advice of Jesus. I mean take a look at Jesus's point with the rich young ruler:
- He first calls Jesus Good Teacher, to which Jesus tells him, "No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life,, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:16-17).
- The young ruler acts as if he doesn't know which commandments to keep. I have this point to make. If you know God's commandments, the Laws of Moses, and you have faith God will do His perfect and pleasing will, it is easy to love your neighbor as much as you love Him. The young ruler's question on "Which ones?" shows his ignorance of the Laws.
- Jesus has to tell the young ruler what Laws he has not kept (see Matthew 19:18). We see the young ruler tell Jesus, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but he just told Jesus he's kept those commands. And yet Jesus reminds him of the one thing he lacked.
If we say we love God and yet we're not doing right by our neighbor, those we live next to, by giving them what we have which is Jesus and the truth He holds for all of us, we're not loving our neighbor as we'd like to think. And let's truly think on that. "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Matthew 19:22).
What I take away from Whole is that what we hold on to doesn't necessarily help us in being made whole. Either we're holding on to things that have a hold on us--like our possessions--or we're unable to part ways with things that hold us back. So, Steve Wiens is making the point, overall, we can be made whole. It's just if we allow Jesus that right and to follow Him with all of who we are.
I have received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest feedback.