Saturday, February 8, 2014

I like this book

Brad Formsma has hit a home run with his delightful book “I Like Giving: the Transforming Power of a Generous Life. Practical Ideas, Inspiring Stories” (WaterBrook Press, 2014.) And by the way, you may want to have some tissues ready as you settle down with this book. Some of the ‘inspiring stories’ just may inspire you to cry.
If you've spent much time in church, you've probably heard that God loves a cheerful giver. Of course that was usually said right before the ushers passed through with the collection plate. And there’s no doubt that He does. Formsma takes that a bit further, and tells what cheerful giving might look like outside of the Sunday morning worship service.
            The reader is reminded that Jesus once said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and goes on to tell any number of ways that people demonstrate that principle of being blessed through their generosity. (Counter-intuitive, yes, but it works.)  In this book are lessons on the joy of giving, the joy of generosity, and demonstration after demonstration of what happens when we turn “I have to give” into “I get to give.”  It might be a big gift, but it doesn't have to be: simple gifts bring blessings too, to the giver and the person to whom it is given.
            This is not another spin on prosperity gospel, there are no promises or implications that if you send a check today, that you’ll be rich by this time next week. Unless of course you count happiness and joy as riches and wealth.
The stories have funny titles like “I like Bike” or “I like “Pay Phones” and the title clues the reader in on what is involved in this giving experience. IT’s amazing how people from around the country have chimed in with their stories to make this book possible.
But it’s not just warm fuzzies, Formsma gives tips on how to give, how to live a life a generosity, why we give, and why we enjoy (for those who do) giving. There are clues about why giving is difficult at times, and along the way I was reminded that sometimes it’s hard for me to be on the receiving end, which in turn reminds me that sometimes giving needs to be done in a way that doesn't embarrass the recipient, and that even though the end result might be that I feel the joy that God wants all of us to experience, the giving experience is not always supposed to be about making me feel good.
I read a lot for work, for school and for pleasure.  This is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time.  I’m sure I’ll go back to it again and again. I’ll buy a couple of extra copies to give to friends.  And my giving story - whatever it’s called - will start with “I Like Books…”

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. There is no requirement to write a positive review.

The only reason for giving this book 5 stars on a scale of 1 to 5 is that there is no 6. 

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