The Blaze: He Once Received a Book That Was Filled With Empty Pages. But the Brief Message Inscribed Inside Forever Changed His Life.

Famed author, speaker and pastor John Maxwell — one of the world’s most recognized experts on leadership and intentional living — has released a book that he believes could spark a major movement that will help people learn to live “a life of significance.

Maxwell, who believes that “Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters” is his most important work to date, told The Church Boys podcast about how a simple Christmas gift that he received decades ago jump started his own successes.

“When I was 27, [a good friend named Eileen gave] me a book and I unwrapped the paper and the title of the book on the outside was, ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told,’” Maxwell recalled, explaining that he was excited by what appeared to be an exhilarating read.

But he was in for a big surprise, as he discovered that the pages inside were all completely blank.

At the top of the first page, Eileen had written a message to Maxwell, who was a young pastor at the time. He paraphrased what it said: “Your life is before you. Fill these pages with kind acts, matters of your heart, wonderful deeds. Write your own story of significance.”

It was a small gift, but one that Maxwell said had a profound impact on his life.

“I cannot describe to you … what that did for me,” he said. “I, for the first time, realized that I had a choice — that I could either read my life — because somebody could write it — or I could write my own life and be the author of my own story.”

Over the subsequent months, Maxwell began to fill the pages with his personal thoughts and anecdotes in what became a defining moment in his life and career.

“That jump started me,” he said.

Listen to Maxwell discuss his life and career at the 51:30 mark at