The Last Arrow

The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life, by Erwin Raphael McManus, published by WaterBrook 2017, 210 pages, hardcover

Maybe it was the Christmas preparation season. Maybe it was my new focus on the martial arts. Maybe it was just me being me, but I had a difficult time engaging in the new McManus book, out this past month.

Don’t get me wrong. It rang a lot of bells and I gathered a lot of encouraging quotes, but something in the book didn’t set right with me. Perhaps my heart has grown a bit cold. Perhaps the shadowy cloud of jealously is threatening to rain on my days. Either way, I still recommend this book. It sharpened my focus on my broad and varied goals fighting for my attention.

McManus shares his personal struggles and those of many of the people he has met in his travels. He says the premise of the book came about in his study of 2 Kings 13:14-20 where Elisha tells the King Jehoash to shoot his arrows. Elisha is ill. The king came to see him one last time. This is the last time the king will be able to get his advice. It doesn’t go well.

Throughout the book McManus urges us to do everything we can, shoot all our arrows, keep moving until God tells us to stop.

This book is encouraging and challenging at the same time – a good read for thoughtful consideration of my life as I enter the new year.

Memorable quotes:

“There may not be anything worse than winning a battle you never should have fought.”

“The Last Arrow is about leaving nothing undone that was ours to do.”

“I never saved anything for the swim back” – Vincent in Gattaca

“We can become so afraid of death that we never live, so afraid of failure that we never risk, so afraid of pain that we never discover how strong we really are.”

The 9/11 moments

samurai culture

“…set your past on fire…” (a reference to 1 Kings 19:21)

“Success if a tyrant that will enslave you just as quickly as failure. If you let success own you, you will find yourself trapped by your success and terrified by the possibility of failure. Success will lie to you and tell you that your future is just an extension of your past, when at it’s best, success is simply preparation for new challenges. Every day you will have to choose between living in the past, staying in the present, or creating a future. …”

“… every human being is both a work of art and an artist at work.”

“You need to believe in our friendship.”

“What I learned from twenty years of indecisiveness is that you will either define yourself or be defined by others. You will either choose your life or live a life that was never meant to be yours. How you end is profoundly affected by how you begin. You never begin the journey of creating the life you want until you know what you want. It’s only when you know what you want that you can say no to everything that wants you. I’ve seen it over and over again. You will never get what you want until you know what you want.”

“You cannot know every challenge you will face, but you can know who you are when you face that challenge!”

McManus books I have read (and recommend):

An Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind

The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art

McManus books I have yet to read:

Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment

Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul

The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within

Soul Cravings: An Exploration of the Human Spirit

Wide Awake: The Future Is Waiting Within You

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