‘The Last Arrow’—You Have One Life, Refuse to Stay Behind


Written by Erwin McManus, “The Last Arrow” is a bold manifesto for a life of passion and adventure, devoid of regret and anchored in the dogmatic refusal to forfeit the call on our lives.
Photo by Glen Allsop

“There is more courage in us than danger ahead of us.” —Erwin McManus

I was thrilled to see Erwin McManus’, “The Last Arrow” come across my desk for two reasons. Firstly, I hadn’t known much about Erwin, his story or his contagious passion and was eager to explore and learn about this man that has impacted so many. Secondly, the gritty no-holds-barred call to action of this book was both immediately intoxicating and alluring, as it’s not often you hear your life’s ethos spoken of in such a new and refreshing way.

We are hard pressed to find any story in Scripture where God becomes angry because someone had too much faith, too much determination, too much resolve.

In short, “The Last Arrow” edifies a way of life in which we are each born with a quiver of arrows that are ours alone to strike forward with, advancing the call on our lives. We can either leave the arrows holstered entirely, or never stop striking—Legolas style—until the fullness has been rendered. 

I frequently joke that since accepting Christ 16 years ago I have lived 10 different lives. Far from a nomadic free-spirited hippie, I have a proclivity towards unhealthy pre-planning, organization and performance. If left to my own devices, I would be the type of person who would both begin and end a career at the same company with my white picket fence, 2.5 kids, reliable car and the occasional adventure sprinkled in for good measure. Bottom-line: I enjoy knowing what tomorrow will hold.


Photo by Glen Allsop

And yet, 16 years ago I surrendered my right to know what tomorrow will hold when I said yes to a Father that never disappoints, is endlessly hilarious and outrageous in his exploits of power. It was then that I unknowingly committed my life to living the journey of “The Last Arrow.”

As McManus points out, it’s a journey that requires an individual to determine and declare: “Although I have no control over whatever talent has been placed inside of me—no control over the level of my intelligence…I will take absolute control over my personal responsibility to develop and maximize whatever potential God has given me for the good of others.”

This book packs a recalibrating punch, imploring each of us, as Christians, to “not [underestimate] how much God intends for [our lives].” Asking us to be dogmatic in leaving “nothing undone that [is] ours to do” in this life. “The Last Arrow” weaves together an impassioned and intelligent theological argument to squeeze, as McManus says, “the marrow out of life…ensuring that when we come to the end of our lives, we will arrive at our final moments with no regret.”

Invigorating concept? Yes! In practice? Petrifying for addicted pre-planners and life-plotters like myself (and perhaps you?). But it’s there again that McManus meets us, reminding us that we can be so consumed by fear “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.”

In each of our lives, we are given a quiver full of arrows, with each arrow representing the full expression of all that Christ has allotted for our lives. It is there that McManus’ rallying call to action is given breath, reminding and educating that it is up to us alone, no one else, to refuse to stay behind. It is up to us to never stop striking; to give flight to each of our life’s arrows—striking forward until there is nothing left to strike.

This is the Christian life. This is our story. This is our call. To die with our quivers empty, having refused to stay behind.

For Christ is the perfect planner, extravagant in blessing and faithful to prepare a forging path of character in us so that each one of those arrows finds its intended destination—a destination full of victory, full of impact and full of Him.


Photo by Glen Allsop

This is the Christian life. This is our story. This is our call. To die with our quivers empty, having refused to stay behind.

Determined to live life bolder, louder and more focused but doubting what the arrows of your life are? Or perhaps you, like me, need a fresh reminder of the path to a laid-down life?

Pick up McManus’ “The Last Arrow.” You’ll find there a path of permission, a voice beckoning, reminding us of what we already know, that at some point each of us “will find ourselves…being asked to put everything we know on an altar with only a promise of a future we do not know.”

It is there that fear and doubt waits for us, yes, but also the truth that we are “hard pressed to find any story in [Scripture where] God becomes angry because someone had too much faith, too much determination, too much resolve.”

So, strike hard. Strike savagely. Don’t let up. This is your life. Refuse to stay behind.

“May you die with your quivers empty.
May you die with your hearts full.”
 —Erwin McManus

For more information on “The Last Arrow,” visit WaterBrook & Multnomah.
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