Have a Little Faith: A True Story Summary

Synopsis

Have a Little Faith, published in 2009, was written by Mitch Albom. He is best known for his book Tuesdays With Morrie, the best-selling memoir of all time. Three of his works, including The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day, have been made into acclaimed television movies.

Have a Little Faith is a true story about two men of God who affect Albom’s life journey, and it all begins with one question: “Will you do my eulogy?” Albom is a sportswriter who lives in Detroit but grew up in New Jersey. This story spans eight years and juxtaposes two cities, two faiths, two races, two ways of doing ministry, two histories, and two men. As Albom traverses these two worlds, he rediscovers his own need for faith.

When Albert Lewis asks his former (and still occasional) parishioner to give his eulogy, Albom is hesitant. All he knows of this eighty-two-year-old rabbi is what he has seen from behind a desk in a schoolroom as a student or in a pew as a congregant. The author finally agrees to do the task but insists on getting to know the real Albert Lewis, the man behind the robes. Theirs is a relationship of trust, love, and faith, as Albom asks the hard questions; the rabbi, always a teacher, gives truthful and insightful answers. Sometimes he does not know the “right” answers, but he shares his view of living out his faith. Part way through the journey, Albom understands this endeavor is not his favor to a dying rabbi but an old Jewish man’s favor to him.

In contrast, Albom is drawn to a man in Detroit with a sordid and criminal past. Henry Covington was once a drug user and dealer who admittedly broke every one of the Ten Commandments. He is now conducting a humble but effective ministry in an old, dilapidated church. The building has a gigantic hole in the roof, and the heat gets turned off when they cannot pay the bills. Yet homeless people stay and hungry people come to have both their physical and spiritual needs met. Albom is skeptical, but he does provide a huge tarp to place over the gaping hole. As he learns more about the man—again by talking with him and his “constituents”—he is convinced that Henry Covington is also a man of great faith. Albom becomes such a believer that ten percent (the biblical concept of a “tithe”) of all proceeds from the sale of this book have been given to Henry Covington’s church, as well as the synagogue in New Jersey, and several other homeless shelters in Detroit.

After Rabbi Lewis dies, Mitch Albom delivers a moving and insightful eulogy, in which he shares both the faith of this remarkable man and his own journey back to belief. Both Albert Lewis and Henry Covington, worlds apart in nearly every other way, teach Albom that there is comfort and hope in believing in something greater than self. Although Have a Little Faith is the story of one man’s journey, it is a story with which everyone can connect.