One hundred years ago Christians read Charles
Sheldon’s In His Steps with runaway enthusiasm.
Sheldon’s story traces the account of the fictional
Reverend Maxwell who challenges himself and
his congregation to constantly ask, “What would
Jesus do?” This question puts all of life’s circumstances
in a new light. Those characters in Sheldon’s
book who take the challenge of this question
seriously live dramatically changed lives.
But a changed life responding to Jesus’ example
of compassion and grace does not always make
things easier. People in Sheldon’s story learn that
acting like Jesus can alienate others who prefer
status quo comfort and social respectability.
The real challenge of the question, “What would
Jesus do?” is not the initial fervor it evokes
but the sustained devotion it can produce.