This sculpture, called The End of the Trail, was created in the late 1800s and it gripped my heart the first time I saw it as a child. I was fascinated by this slumped and swaying warrior, and I wanted to know what had crushed his spirit so badly. Had he been injured in battle or was he merely bowed by exhaustion or grief? How had such a noble soul come to such a defeated, broken end?
I didn’t realize that my life would often resemble that statue.
Yours probably has too.
We’ve all ridden toward the horizon, ready to win the day, only to come to the end of the trail, hurting, lonely, dazed, and confused, and wondering how it all went wrong.
When we come to the end of the trail and droop like this valiant warrior, there’s only one lasting cure for our soul—the presence and nearness of God. Max Lucado calls that place of God’s presence “the sweetest spot in the universe.”
The Gospel story is one of simultaneous expansion and narrowing. It’s expanding toward the furthest reaches of the known world, but it’s also honing in on individuals like a heat-seeking missile.
God wants to draw close to you. His very name, Immanuel (God with us), says so.
In this week’s installment of our summer reading program, Lucado expounds on this idea of God drawing near. That nearness—more than any other place in the universe—is where life becomes sweet and the common life is truly cured. Let’s lean into that space until we sense His presence and His Spirit makes us whole.
Summer Reading Program: The Cure for the Common Life Chapter Seven “Come to the sweetest spot in the universe.”
 Max Lucado, The Cure for the Common Life (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN: 2005): 70.
To read Chapters Thirty-Eight through Forty click here.
Would you rather have someone draw faulty conclusions about you from a distance, or misinterpret your expressed intentions?
It’s not a fun “would you rather” question because both options stink. We’ve all had people make unfair assessments about us from afar, and we’ve all had people misunderstand the good things we were trying to communicate or do.
It hurts to feel stereotyped, judged, or misunderstood and it elicits the cry: “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t think those things about me!”
- If you understood my heart, you wouldn’t question my motives.
- If you understood my introverted temperament, you wouldn’t mistake it for aloofness or disinterest.
- If you understood how deeply I think and feel, you wouldn’t think my sanguine nature is shallow or insincere.
- If you really knew me, you would love me.
Do you think that’s true of God?
Do you think our current view of Him accurately reflects His character and nature, or have we inadvertently judged and misinterpreted Him?
A low or warped view of God will keep us from taking risks and spending our life in His service. And the tragedy of those low or warped views is that they’re usually formulated through misinterpretations or judgments from afar.
The cure? Relationship. The best way to shatter a faulty perception is to relate with reality. When I truly get to know you my inaccurate perceptions of you fall by the wayside.
How well do we know God? How intentional are we about knowing Him more?
The cure for the common life is a life lived out of our sweet spot for the glory of God. However, in order to truly live for His glory we must know and trust Him. Perhaps this point in our summer reading program is the perfect time to press in to know Him more.
Grace Church summer reading program, The Cure for the Common Life, Chapter Three: “Read your life backward.”
Max Lucado’s chapter “Don’t consult your greed” contains some of the best life advice that we could ever receive!
Here’s his punch line: when attempting to identify your ‘sweet spot’ don’t consult your greed. The God-ordained niche for your life will be outrageously significant; however, it probably won’t satisfy every greedy longing in your soul.
Mine won’t be fully satisfied either—no one’s greed ever is. As Epicurus, Greek philosopher from 300 BC, noted, “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” Similarly, when John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money does it take to satisfy a man?” he replied, “Just a little more.”
Perhaps your sweet spot will provide a comfortable living for you, but perhaps it won’t. Some people get paid to pursue their sweet spot, while others touch that place through volunteering. The primary goal is not to get rich by doing what we love, but rather to passionately and honorably pursue what we love, and then practice contentment with its results. Indeed, some people in their longing for more have accepted job “promotions” that have elevated them right out of their sweet spot. Consequently, rather than doing what they love, and learning to be content therein, they have gained a little “more” but have become miserably out-of-place along the way.
I know this perspective flies in the face of our American quest for “more,” and yet I wonder if our longing for more has caused us to become negligent or ungrateful for what we currently possess. Remember, Jesus said that tomorrow’s promotion is often tied to faithfulness today. “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matthew 13:12).
Success is not defined by position or pay scale, but by doing what we do best as often as we possibly can.
Grace Church summer reading program, The Cure for the Common Life, Chapter Five: “Don’t consult your greed.”
 Max Lucado, The Cure for the Common Life, Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2005, 43.
 Ibid., 47.