The little church’s pastor rose slowly and approached the pulpit for his homily. But this time he had no notes. He spoke from his heart. “What I am going to propose now is something which ought not to appear unusual or at all impossible of execution. Yet I am aware that it will be so regarded by a large number, perhaps, of the members of this church. … I want volunteers from the First Church who will pledge themselves, earnestly and honestly for an entire year, not to do anything without first asking the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ And after asking that question, each one will follow Jesus as exactly as he knows how, no matter what the result may be. … In other words, I propose we follow Jesus’ steps as closely and as literally as we believe He taught His disciples to do.”
With this challenge, the story begins … of how different businessmen, professionals, men and women take up this challenge and what happens in their lives. More importantly is the great step in faith they take, a step anchored in prayer and trust in God.
Some of those who take up this challenge are the editor of the city’s Daily News, the superintendent of a large railroad, the president of a local college, one of the biggest merchants in the city, a doctor, an author, an heiress and an aspiring opera singer.
First published in 1897, In His Steps, authored by Charles M. Sheldon, soon became a runaway bestseller, purportedly the widest read book next to the Bible. Its message is as relevant today as it was in the early 1900’s; its challenge faces each reader, regardless of station or status in life. Perhaps you have seen bracelets or lapel pins bearing the letters “WWJD?” WWJD stands for “What Would Jesus Do?” These remind the wearer of his/her commitment to follow the challenge to walk in Jesus’ steps.
You cannot read this book and remain unchanged as you, the reader, are directly confronted with the question: Could I do as they did? Only decide and act as Jesus would … for one whole year? Is my faith in Jesus strong enough to do this?
Reviewed by Nancy R. Catan.