Go and Do: Daring to Change the World One Story at a Time
by Jay Milbrandt
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read, Go and Do: Daring to Change the World One Story at a Time. I drive a used mini-van. My kids go to public school. I pack sandwiches so we avoid even spending the money on McDonald’s whenever possible. I use coupons and shop at discount stores. We live in a house that’s too small for our family and drive our cars until they explode in our driveway.
So, when I read these books like Radical, Crazy Love and Milbrandt’s Go + Do, which all cover similar ground, I’m inspired and sometimes let-down. It may indeed be revolutionary to tell some families to downsize, buy inexpensively, live frugally, cut out materialism and then be generous givers. But that’s not radical to me. That’s life.
Not only that, but I have three kids eight and under with a baby on the way. What I really want is someone to tell me how I can answer the call to “go and do” that I can “go and do” right now. That means it can’t require me to abandon my family for a month or even a week so I can fly to Thailand.
Milbrandt’s stories are inspiring and challenging, especially the idea that we aren’t out to change the world, but we should pursue a change in us. I would have loved for him to spend more time, though, giving practical, real-life examples of how to make an impact when you’re not a college student, or a lawyer or college professor who can travel at will.
He touches on that and when he does, it’s good. Really good. He speaks passionately about practicing the ministry of presence. It doesn’t require doing anything or giving anything; you just have to be fully invested in spending a moment with someone else. The power of presence is that it can happen when you sit by a hospital bed, re-arrange a blanket in a nursing home, or rock a baby in a nursery. Anyone can perform the ministry of presence anywhere in the world there are people.
He also explains that even $25 can help start someone in a third world country out in a business that will provide for their family. That’s accessible to most of us.
Milbrandt also encourages people to find a “second career” —like a place to volunteer or a cause to champion—early in life and to let it grow over time. In other words, do as much as you can now and it’ll be in place for further investment when your kids are grown and gone and/or you’ve retired and you then have even more to give.
Ultimately, I think there’s power for all of us to be reminded periodically that there’s a world out there much bigger than the world of our own lives and there’s need out there much bigger than our need for car payments and cell phone bills. It’s also a reminder of the calls for social justice in the Gospels and the book of James.
I know women who never get to travel on a mission trip until they’re widowed and retired. Maybe that’ll be me. Until then, going and doing happens in my own family and community, but I hope it doesn’t end there. At least Milbrandt has me thinking and planning and being on the lookout for ways to impact and serve hurting people in a broken world.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.