Love God, Do Stuff!

by: Harvey Hook


“Love God, Do Stuff!” are the invigorating words of Bob Goff, humanitarian and author of the NY Times Best Seller, LOVE DOES.  Those four words are an invitation to dive into the uncertainty of loving others. And when we dive into the lives of others, it creates freedom for everyone!

I’m reminded of a true story from my book, “The Power of an Ordinary Life.”

Ashley Smith was a 26-year-old single mom.  Her 5-year-old daughter Paige was in custody of an aunt, because of her prior drug use; and four years earlier her husband died in her arms from a stabbing.  She was the most unlikely of people to risk loving another.  And yet, a new identify had formed in her when she embraced the love she found in God.

When fugitive killer Brian Nichols, forced his way into her apartment at 2 o’clock in the morning, Ashley thought her life was over.  Subject of the largest manhunt in Georgia’s history following his murder of a judge and sheriff, Brian was armed and volatile.

Seven hours later, Ashley walked out of her apartment to see her daughter; and 2 hours later, Brian walked out, arms raised in surrender to authorities. What happened?

Brian tied her to a chair and took a shower.  After the shower, he wanted to talk.  Ashley told him about her daughter, and the tragic loss of her husband.  She told Brian about God’s love for him and the disappointment Paige would feel if she didn’t show up for her morning visit.

Ashley asked if she could read something. She read aloud from chapter 33 of “The Purpose Driven Life.”  Brian asked her to stop and read it again:

“We serve God by serving others.  In our self-serving culture, acting like a servant is not a popular concept. Jesus, measured greatness in terms of service, not status.

God determines your greatness by how you serve, not how many people serve you.  Without a servant’s heart, you will misuse your shape for personal gain.”

Brian was moved.  He said “he was lost and God led him right to me to tell him that he had hurt a lot of people.  I was able to let him know how they felt, because I had gone through it.  He looked at pictures of my family.  He asked me if he could look at and hold them.” Brian said he was hungry so Ashley made him breakfast; pancakes with real butter.  They talked more about God and their lives and Brian agreed to let Ashley see Paige.  He gave her $40.  Somehow she had offered him hope and a reason to live.

Ashley said, “You’re in my apartment for a reason.  Your miracle could be that you need to be caught.  You need to go to prison and share God with the prisoners there. You should turn yourself in.  If you don’t, more people are going to get hurt.  And you’re probably going to die.”

Just before noon on the day after his escape, Brian surrendered.  There was no need for drama, because a quiet work had begun in his heart.  It was the work of a broken woman who was willing to reveal her fears and her painful past.  She was transparent enough to talk about her love for her precious daughter, and her new relationship with God.

Such stories just don’t end this way.  So what made the difference in this case?  How did this young woman capture the heart of a killer who had evaded authorities for 26 hours while beating, handcuffing or killing anyone who got in his way?

The ordinary and the commonplace made the difference, not the extraordinary.  There were three things Ashley did which captured his heart and attention.

1st – She spoke from the brokenness of her past and built a bridge to his heart.

2nd – She showed him simple kindness in the form of pancakes with real butter.

3rd – She risked everything by telling him to turn himself in, but only after showing him the new path of her own personal surrender. In the end, it was the simplest of things that turned this story from the tragic to the miraculous.  In the end, she loved God and did what she could.

Loving God and doing stuff…..comes in as many ways as there are people and circumstances!

Bob Goff will be the Keynote Speaker for the 28th Annual Leadership Prayer Breakfast, Chaired by Cindy Monroe, Founder & CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, on Thursday, November 2nd at Mershon Auditorium on the campus of The Ohio State University.

Join us for breakfast with Bob and Cindy on November 2, as he shares his “Dream Bigger” story.  Tickets available now at

We look forward to seeing you there.


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