There are authors, and then there are mentors. Dennis Jones is more than an author within the churches of Christ; he is one of the best encouragers and leaders in the church. He is the President of Heritage Christian University, one of the best schools I ever attended. Dennis is one of those individuals who inspire those around him to “make life count.” As a young student at HCU, there were countless occasions on which President Jones would wrap his arm around me to instill confidence and hope within me. There is within me a deep appreciation for his daring me to do better.
The book, How to Make Your Life Count, is excellent because it flows from Mr. Jones’ strengths. In his first chapter on “believing that you will live forever,” he uses a little counter-cultural wisdom to focus on making choices that will influence one’s eternal destiny. Often in self-help literature, the author will implore the person to seize life because of one’s mortality. However, President Jones brings the heavenly perspective to the book thus producing an increase in the sense of motivation to make one’s life count.
In the next section on principle two, Mr. Jones refers to a little wisdom from my hometerritoryofNova Scotia. He uses a quote which states, “Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102. The good die young.” These lines are from a gravestone in theEastDalhousieCemetery. He uses this Maritime wisdom to implore Christians to make a difference in this world while there is time. All men will die but do something while you are here.
One of the most powerful lessons is principle four. In this chapter Mr. Jones encourages people to take responsibility for themselves. He gives seemingly contradictory advice in taking control and relinquishing control. But his point is that we must control that which is in our power and stop stressing about those elements that we cannot influence. He lists some areas in which we must take personal responsibility, which are: our behavior, our attitude, our goals, and our decisions. In a culture of blame, this is a highly needed chapter.
Principle six is “Find and Develop Your Gift.” Too many people spend life worrying about weaknesses instead of developing their gifts or strengths. In this chapter Mr. Jones gives various areas in which people are gifted. The gift might be in leadership or encouragement, but whatever the area is, a person will discover increased productivity through tapping into his strengths.
In one of the last sections, Dennis Jones writes a section on empowerment. This is not shocking as this is one of the author’s best gifts in leadership. He empowers people around him. And this is what he ultimately does in the book. He empowers people to “Make Your Life Count.”
There are numerous motivational books on the market, but this book is written with a divine perspective. The book would be excellent for encouraging a Bible class. Sometimes the first step for an entire church is to get motivated to make a difference in this world. I would encourage people to not just read this book for the personal benefit, but to teach this book to others. This book takes me back to the days in which Dennis would put his arm around me to motivate me to be the best minister possible. It felt good.
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