Review of “Embracing Obscurity”

October 1, 2012

I received an advanced reader copy of this book. The book’s marketer found me through my book review blog. I was sent a copy before it was made available to the public. I am proud that as a reviewer I received this book before anyone else.

The above statement makes me exactly the type of person who needs to read this book. It is about overcoming our pride problem. We all have one and this book will help you see that and hopefully overcome it by “Embracing Obscurity.”

The author confronts us with the reality that we are “just 1 in 7 billion.” By embracing obscurity the author means being content with being relatively unknown so that Christ can be made more known. Our time on earth will come and go but eternity is forever and it is for eternity we should live.

The key to obscurity’s embrace is finding our significance in Christ. When we find our significance in Christ “we are freed from our vanity and can instead fulfill God’s purposes for us” (p. 66). “To get to the place where we can truly embrace our obscurity, we’ll have to sacrifice our dreams of worldly success and instead take on this humble disposition…the disposition of Christ” (p. 85).

The author provides a very helpful contrast between Christ’s disposition of humility versus Satan’s disposition of pride (pp. 50-51). Modeling Jesus Christ is only way to embrace obscurity.

He warns of falling for “The Joseph Principle.” This is the dangerous misconception that
“If I am suffering in obscurity today, God must be preparing me for something greater, better, or more prominent later in life” (p. 116). “We comfort ourselves with this kind of self-talk because it’s far more soothing than the thought of suffering for the sole purpose of God’s glory or –heaven forbid- having to embrace obscurity indefinitely” (p. 118). We are prone to interpret the “all things for good” in Romans 8:28 to mean worldly success. “What if your good is soley to make His name great?” (p. 119).

Be forewarned, embracing obscurity will make you look crazy in the eyes of the world. “If our lifestyle doesn’t even raise the eyebrows of the world, what does that say about our devotion to the gospel?” (p. 129). For Christians to die to self, to put others first, to serve in obscurity is very mysterious to the rest of humanity.
“So how about us? Are we living mysteriously? Are our lives marked by service, sacrifice, love for others, abandonment of self, dependency on God, or genuine passion to see the lost saved? Or are we more preoccupied with the things of the world? A cool car or job? A retirement account? A higher education or some humanitarian work? Maybe even some noble things done but for the wrong reasons? Do any decisions in our lives seem mysterious to those around us? Without mystery we have to wonder whether we have embraced the ways of the Father or imitated the world” (p. 134).

This is a thought-provoking book. It caused me some severe introspection. As Christ followers, it asks us to consider if every opportunity for advancement should be undertaken, even those where there are no scriptures violated. I “humbly” give it my recommendation.

This book was provided by the publisher for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

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