I first read In His Steps by Rev. Charles Sheldon when I was a teenager. I loved the book then, but I was absolutely fascinated by it while I was re-reading it this time!
In His Steps is the story of a pastor named Henry Maxwell, who lives and pastors in the town of Raymond, New York. The story was originally delivered chapter by chapter by Rev. Sheldon to his Sunday evening congregation during the summer of 1896. As each chapter was presented, the attendance grew and grew until the church building was packed to standing room only.
The whole premise of the book is a simple one: what would happen if each one of us were to live our lives moment to moment by one simple question—what would Jesus do? The story is told through the lives of Henry Maxwell and others in his congregation, as they come to grips with just what this means for them. At the end of the book, the “What would Jesus do” movement has spread, and Pastor Maxwell is asked to speak at a prominent church in Chicago. He concludes his message with this thought—
“Suppose that ‘What would Jesus do?’ were the motto, not only of the churches but of the businessmen, the politicians, the newspapers, the working men, the society people. How long would it take, under such a standard of conduct, to revolutionize the world? What is the trouble with the world? It is suffering from selfishness. No one ever lived who had succeeded in overcoming selfishness like Jesus. If men followed Him, regardless of results, the world would at once begin to enjoy a new life.”
In His Steps is a powerful book! Simple to read, yet challenging to apply. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to be more of a disciple of Jesus Christ. “What would Jesus do?” shouldn’t be just a clever question, but a way of life!