(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

The premise behind minister and Christian writer Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life is that all people have what he calls a “sweet spot,” a unique service for God that they were created to fulfill. More particularly, Lucado defines this spot as the point at which an individual’s personal strengths and successes converge with glorifying God and everyday life.

In the first section of the book, “Use Your Uniqueness,” Lucado sets about helping readers understand that each of us was crafted by a master designer who prepackages his designs, wiring us in a particular way so that we can fulfill our individual purpose. Introducing a concept he calls “unpacking our bags,” Lucado encourages us to examine our own skills and predispositions and those moments when we knew we were performing well (when, he explains, we were in “the zone”) to discover exactly how it is that each of us is packed. Lucado attacks the common secular concept that we can be anything we want to be and replaces it with a Scripture-based mandate to first seek the maker so that we can then learn who it is we were uniquely crafted to be. Unpacking our bags is important spiritual work, Lucado asserts, because strengths and interests visible in even our youngest childhood memories suggest to us who we were designed to be. One boy’s proclivity with model airplanes, for example, and another boy’s love of art point to God-designed penchants for particular fields of interest.

Incorporating Scripture, exegesis, and everyday examples, the first section of Cure ultimately underscores the value of all work. The point is not, according to Lucado, to do what the secular world defines as valuable work but to discover our irrepressible passions to pursue what God intended for us to pursue. Despite secular claims to the contrary, the pursuit of financial gain...

(The entire section is 763 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Lawrence, Brother. The Practice of the Presence of God. Translated by John J. Delaney. New York: Doubleday, 1977. This work, available in many editions, is one of a handful of classic devotional works that reveal the transforming power of the Resurrection in our everyday lives.

Lucado, Max. It’s Not About Me. Nashville, Tenn.: Integrity, 2005. A powerful complementary text to Cure for the Common Life because both deal with what seems a contradiction: In the secular world, each Christian has a role to play, but life is not about the individual.

Moore, Beth. Believing God. Nashville, Tenn.: Life Way Press, 2002. A text that, like Lucado’s, calls people to the radical faith of stepping beyond merely believing in God to believing him.

Publishers Weekly. Review of Cure for the Common Life. 252, no. 40 (October 10, 2005): 57. Review of the work that notes the author’s traditionally evangelical yet easy-to-read style.

Warren, Rick. The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002. Warren’s text defines the five purposes for existing and makes the claim that people are uniquely shaped for serving God. Like Lucado’s STORY, Warren’s SHAPE is an assessment tool for discovering God’s purpose for one’s life.