Usually the only books I review here on the blog are only ones I receive from publishing companies (not sure why that's been my "rule". Hmm...would anyone want to read reviews for all the books I read?) This book I bought at a book sale, then realized it was an ARC for a book coming out this month, so I am reviewing it here. Let's take a look!
With lines like, "Daring to live the startling command of Jesus" and "The one Bible story you won't hear in church" written on the cover, I expected more from this book. The premise of this book is that God calls us to be shrewd, just as the devil is shrewd, using the Biblical phrase "shrewd as serpents yet innocent as doves" with the story of the shrewd manager in Luke 16. Lawrence explores the passage and unpacks what it means and could look like in a Christ-follower's life.
But, to use the unpacking metaphor, the valuable message was hidden in a box full of paper and packing peanuts. It felt like Lawrence would present his thesis for the chapter, get distracted by all the things he wanted to say, then remember his message in time for the last paragraph. There were good points, but they were overwhelmed by extraneous stories and metaphors, some of which were used but never explained, expecting the reader to know what he was referencing.
I liked the basic idea of this book. It has started me thinking about being shrewd in my life and ministry. And yes, it is definitely a story that I have not heard in church, or even remembered reading in my own quiet time! I had to go check my Bible to make sure we were reading the same one! The little rabbit trails throughout the book, while they were mostly enjoyable and had a point, were overkill. They distracted from the main message of the book.
Finally, I had a small pet peeve with this book. I know the book is called Shrewd, and is about being shrewd, but seriously, how many times can you use the word shrewd?? It seemed like sometimes he was using the word to describe what shrewd was! Or like he was getting paid by the use of the word! That's really my only critique on the actual writing of this book.
Overall, this book is average. If you don't mind a little rambling, you can find some small nuggets of value.