Book Review: Lucky—How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People
By: Glenn Packiam Publisher: David C. Cook ISBN: 9781434766380
I just finished reading “Lucky” by Glenn Packiam and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it. I found it refreshing in its presentation of the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Plain from Luke’s Gospel (Luke 6:17-26). As refreshing as the presentation was, I also found it faithful and honest to the contextual and traditional interpretation of the passage and this is important to me. In as much as the sermon on the plain is directed to us personally, Packiam helps the reader to understand that the Gospel message isn’t “all about me.”
As Packiam teaches about this Sermon on the Plain, he simultaneously teaches the historical application of the message while interpreting it in our contemporary setting addressing some of the major social issues of our day (human trafficking, poverty, hunger, and creation-environmental care to name a few). As accurate and engaging a job as the author does with teaching this passage of text, he explores several layers deeper by sharing the original stories of the Hebrew people, so the reader might further engage and connect with the irony of the Christ’s words as he proclaims how lucky they are when they are poor, reviled, hungry, and persecuted.
In addition to the well-researched and explained context of the passage, Packiam also engages the reader with stories from his personal experience and integrates them seamlessly into the overall message of the book. This is an art form in itself; sometimes the retelling of personal stories can come off as somewhat indulgent and gratuitous, but in this instance that is not the case at all. It seemed each of Packiam’s personal narratives were timely and relevant.
One of my favorite quotes from the book follows:
“By filling ourselves with whatever we can find in this world, we have buried a deeper hunger, one that reveals what we truly need. C. S. Lewis argued that God finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are too easily pleased. We’re like a man starving in the desert, content to stuff his mouth with the sand within his grasp when a royal banqueting table is just a few yards ahead. We need a hunger that is not so easily filled, a hunger that comes from repeatedly turning down the things that others are filling up on. This is a good kind of hungry. But to be hungry at all is uncomfortable. Maybe that’s just it: To be empty on the world requires a certain willingness to not get too comfortable here.” (pg 99-100)
I have no criticism of the book and think it will appeal to a wide demographic. I’ve read quite a few books wedded to the social justice movement in recent years, so I felt a little tired in my reading at some point. I don’t think there is anything new in this book, but what is there is important and it has been presented afresh. I think most people reading it will enjoy it and might be inspired and challenged to live more aware of their “luckiness.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Amazon Vine as part of their Product Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”