This book has a great impact on many people. It’s a simple book with thought provoking conversations between a wise older man, “Jones,” and several characters he influences on their journey in life. It is a common sense book and a very enjoyable read, but it leaves out divine reality and truth.
The main character, Jones, is a drifter sort of man who meets individuals in poverty, a failing marriage, old age, failing business and other hopeless situations. Jones helps them see a new perspective to enable them to move forward out of their dire circumstances. Jones offers simple wisdom and hope. For example, in the failing marriage episode, he shares four love languages, which mirror the five love languages that Gary Smalley teaches (Jones doesn’t mention gift giving as a fifth love language). The struggling husband accepts Jones’ advice and returns to his marriage with a fresh perspective and new start. There were several other bits of advice that seem to have a spiritual background, but there is no reference to divine solutions.
One of the penetrating questions Jones’ poses to his listeners is, “What would other people like to change about you?” In other words, what change is necessary in the listener for others to enjoy being around him more? If I am other-centered, as Scripture declares I need to be, then I should consider, reflect and ask others what it might change, so that I can be more effective at building bridges and having a greater influence on others.
Another example is not using “if’s” or “but’s” when asking for forgiveness. For example, if I were to say, “If I hurt you, please forgive me.” That statement doesn’t acknowledge at all that the offender recognizes any offense. It’s really a statement that says, “Let’s get this over with so we can get on with life. You are just very sensitive.” It’s a biblical principle to avoid “if’s” and “but’s” in asking for forgiveness, but the author does not make that connection.
In the same account, Jones asks “Henry” about his unborn child and what name his wife wants to give him. Henry mentions “Caleb” and Jones mentions that the name Caleb is from a noble man who became a ‘victorious old man’ without referring to the biblical account of the story from Joshua 14.
The author, Andy Andrews, invites the reader into realistic conversations that give hope for life. Some of the drama is slow and often the advice very simple. While there are hints of spirituality, neither Jesus Christ nor the grace of God are included as beacons of hope or assurance that God is in control. I enjoyed this casual read as I was not looking for in-depth theology, apologetics, or deep answers to life’s questions.