In 42 Seconds, Carl Medearis hopes to encourage Christians to actively use the countless moments in our daily encounters to the fullest potential possible. Based on his observation that Jesus’ conversations as recorded in the gospels average around forty-two seconds, the author argues that we can also take advantage of short exchanges with unbelievers to introduce Jesus to them. The book is comprised of succinct takeaways that Medearis shares from his own experience over the years in his personal life and ministry work. For example, in one chapter, the author encourages readers to step out from their comfort zone and do something bold. To illustrate this, the author describes how he planned to give out a Bible to each member of parliament in a foreign country hostile to the gospel. Even though Medearis ended up being deported, the author surmises that perhaps seeds of the gospel may have been sown due to his actions. Many other less audacious examples of actionable, simple encounters are highlighted throughout the book to help readers become aware of such opportunities to display the good news of the gospel and the glory of Jesus Christ. One major drawback of the book is that the author strays from the main premise in illustrating how to use brief encounters to show Jesus. It seems that the premise itself is somewhat flawed as many Jesus’ conversations were most likely much longer than the forty-two seconds calculated. Indeed, the author’s argument that short encounters can make a significant difference in one’s life is undeniable. However, we also cannot forget that fruitful relationship building takes hours, days, and years to develop. This weakness in the premise can be sensed in the latter parts of the book as the suggestions evolve to becoming rather general advice for being a good Christian witness including matching our actions to what we say and being willing to stand up for what is right when no one else will.
I would recommend this book as a handy guide to ease the awkwardness that many of us feel when trying to talk about Jesus. Although the author’s observations are not uniquely different from what others have written on this topic, Medearis is able to provide a considerable collection of helpful advice especially for introverts. It is easy for us to dismiss ourselves as being ineloquent in our speech, but God does not ask for Christians to be polished public speakers before spreading His gospel. What God does require of us is that we faithfully bear witness to His truth as revealed in His Word in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Medearis reminds readers that a seemingly insignificant conversation with a cashier in a run-down restaurant on a lonely highway could have eternal significance. Moreover, the Bible commands us to always be ready to give the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). May we no longer hesitate to use every moment of connection we have with others to bring glory to God.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a book review.