I first heard about Jeremy Cowart through Relevant Magazine, and soon thereafter ordered the book, Hope in the Dark. I was drawn in by his ability to capture an image others would often overlook. I first heard about Annie Downs through somehow finding her blog (I guess I am drawn to other people with the name Annie).
What’s Your Mark contains stories of everyday people–some I have heard of before, but it also had people I have never heard of. It is basically a brief summary of what mark he or she has made in the world (and continues to mark). The people range in age and experience. You quickly learn that while there is nothing at first glance that makes these people anything by “everyday,” they are very extraordinary in their openness to follow God.
It also seeks to answer the question: Who was Jesus, and what was his story/mark he left on the world? It makes you reflect and ask yourself: What is my story? What mark will I leave on the world? As you read through the sixteen different profiles of people who have left a mark, you realize God’s not done telling stories. God is still using people to make a huge impact on the world around us.
My favorite quote was from Shaun King:
“The best day to help somebody was probably yesterday, but the next best day is today.”
I think this book is necessary because we need to ask: how do I start making a mark? Not: how can I make a mark? And not: how could I make a mark? But, God calls us all to make a mark. He calls us to step out of our comfort zones and get to work.
This book was offered as a suggested recommendation for high school or college graduates, and, as a soon-to-be college graduate, I have found myself exploring what to do next. I do not want to leave a mark on the world so my resume can look awesome, and it is very clear neither does anyone mentioned in the book. They simply saw problems in the world and did what they could to correct those injustices.
I am left with a lot of admiration for the people in this book. As I face new options after graduation, there are some options I have that are risks. I don’t know what will happen after I make certain decisions. Stepping out is often scary because you are stepping into unfamiliar territory. But then I look at the people in the book: like Katie Davis, who I know more about after reading Kisses from Katie (which I highly recommend), and she is the foster mother to thirteen children. While I can’t relate to that, nor do I feel I am called to do so, I am a little convicted that there is more I could be doing.
Some of my critiques of this book (and why I didn’t give it five stars, or even four stars) were that having the gospel of Mark dispersed throughout the book was interesting, it felt a little disconnected. It was quite short, and it had full pages just with large quotes. I think that’s fine if I wanted to leave this book on my coffee table, but I’m not about coffee table books. The pictures are indeed beautiful, but I don’t think they make this book entirely worth it.
However, I would pass this off to one of many high school graduates I know. I think I would have enjoyed it when I graduated high school, so I do recommend it as a graduation gift (as long as you also include money–that’s what the graduates really want anyway).
Overall rating: Three out of Five Stars
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.