You would think that a 93-year-old man who has sold 27 million books would be a man of many words.
Actually, Jack Countryman is a master of brevity.
His best-selling daily devotionals are sometimes but a half-page long and that’s within the parameters of a petite night-table book. Most devotional books are divided into 365 readings and are usually accompanied by scripture.
Besides having published over 80 books and written 35 himself, he’s had the privilege of having his own imprint division.
But more than anything else, the outstanding aspect of Countryman’s writing career is that it didn’t start until he was 55.
“When you’re young, you’re so full of yourself,” he said. “In order for me to be productive, I have to have my relationship with The Lord in order,” said Countryman. “God really gives me all of the inspirations that I get and all the topics that I write on and without him I’m lost.”
Countryman’s grand entrance onto the stage of publishing happened when he organized specific subjects and put them into a handy, short book so that it would be easy to identify what The Bible has to say about that particular topic.
“It’s a ‘What-To-Do-When’ book,” he said. “It topically meets the needs of people. For example, it’s what The Bible has to say about sadness, fear, mental anguish, grief, doubt, peace, patience, joy and all the things we are seeking and wondering about in life. It’s really a phenomenon. Through this project, I discovered that people really do want to know what God has promised them.”
While his devotionals are good for readers 10-100 years of age, he has a knack for encouraging pre-retirees and seniors. Countryman draws from his own life and hands off wisdom and confidence to those who entering the “What-To-Do-In-My-Senior-Years” phase.
“If you’re 55 or 60,” he said, “you are being prepared for the greatest event of your life because from 60-80 you’ll accomplish more than you did in the first 60 years of your life if you give yourself the opportunity. And why? Because you’ve learned and you’ve prepared and have the answers now. You’ll be able to do now what you weren’t able to do before.
“That may go against the grain, but you’ve made all the mistakes. You know you’ve got the answers to life and I say, ‘Put it to use.’ I’ve found the most creative things I’ve developed in life all came after 60.”
Countryman’s writing and confidence comes from within.
“Life is full of experiences,” he said. “Those experiences are training you to solve life’s problems. I don’t have much worry now. I’ve discovered most of the answers. I have a certain peace that passes all understanding because my experiences in life have given me the knowledge to understand what my relationship is to myself, my fellow man and my relationship to God.
“Life is a zinger. Life is challenging. Life is thrilling if you just want to hang on to it. You have so many things in front of you to explore and to think about that you just don’t want to go to pasture and hang it all up to sit on the couch and watch TV all day. What? I say, ‘No way!’”
Robert J. LaCosta’s daily devotional and new podcast called “The Age Sage” are free and available by writing [email protected]