Thrive With Jesus, Part One. WWJD? WJWD!


By Dr. G. Steve Kinnard

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

— 1 Peter 2:21

Have you heard the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” It’s often encapsulated in four letters—“WWJD?” You might have see it on a bracelet or a journal cover. Did you know that phrase (minus the initials “WWJD”) was first published in 1896 by Charles Sheldon? That’s correct, the phrase is over 120 years old.

The phrase comes from a book entitled In His Steps. I first read this book when I was a teenager. I don’t know why, but my mother handed me a paperback copy and asked me to read it. I didn’t want to read it, but I wanted to please my Mom, so I read the book. It has haunted me for almost five decades.

The book tells the story of a preacher who was interrupted from his Sunday sermon preparation by a knocking on his door. When he opened the door, he faced a homeless man. The homeless man asked the preacher if he had any work around his home or the church grounds that he could perform for a little cash. The preacher said he was very busy, and he dismissed the man without offering him any aid.

The next day, as the preacher delivered his homily, he noticed a man standing at the back of the auditorium. The man starting walking down the center aisle. As the man was about halfway down the aisle, the preacher recognized this man was the same person who had knocked on his door the day before. Just before the man reached the front of the church building, he collapsed and died.

The preacher felt remorse for not helping the man. He came back to church the next Sunday and preached a sermon that ignited a revival in the church. He called the members of his church to ask one question before they made any big or small decision in their lives. The question—What Would Jesus Do? WWJD?

  • WWJD for a homeless man knocking at his door?
  • WWJD for a single mom working two jobs to put food on the table for her four children?
  • WWJD for a lonely widow who sits alone day after day in her rent-subsidized apartment?
  • WWJD for a the grieving husband who lost the love of his life to cancer?
  • WWJD for a teen who is bullied at school?
  • WWJD for the addict who has been in and out of recovery too often to count?

WWJD? Jesus would show compassion. The word compassion means “to suffer with.” Jesus suffered with people. He felt the pain of others? He empathized with people’s hurts.

WWJD? He would be present for people? Like the Good Samaritan, Jesus ran toward the needy, the wounded, and the oppressed. He met people where they were.

WWJD? He would act. He would do something. He would find a way to heal hurts and meet needs.

WWJD? Since Jesus isn’t here today, he would work through us, the members of his body, to help the poor, heal the sick, and bind up the hearts of the broken-hearted.

So ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” WWJD?

Then do What Jesus Would Do. WJWD!