Everybody, Always Summary and Review

by Bob Goff
Has Everybody, Always by Bob Goff been sitting on your reading list? Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary.
As the great Martin Luther King once said: “Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.” In other words, to make the world a better place, we need love. As Bob Goff, the author of Everybody Always explains, that message is identical to the one that Jesus preached and that millions of people aspire to live by. But talking is one thing and actually doing something is another. So what can we do in order to turn these words into actions? A great place to start is by understanding how difficult living up to Jesus’s message can be. Over the course of our life, we have to put up with a lot of difficult people and a lot of setbacks, which means that we need to learn how to love, step by step. Like any other important thing, love takes a lot of time and practice to fully master. Everybody, Always is a small how-to guide meant to teach us how to walk the path of love. The book is packed with interesting anecdotes and insightful personal experiences. It is safe to say that Everybody, Always is a deeply personal and emotional account that brings the teachings of the Bible closer to our hearts. From Bob Goff’s Everybody, Always by Bob Goff, you’ll learn:
  • how we can learn about faith from skydiving;
  • why we should never consider doing good things a competition; and;
  • how forgiveness and love can truly change the world.

Everybody, Always Chapter #1: Instead of building a castle, try to build a kingdom and learn how to love those you fear.

If we were to try and summarize Jesus’s message in a single word, “love” would be most appropriate. Love is at the heart of what Jesus taught his followers. But there is another equally important word that we must think of - everyone because loving your family and friends is not enough. We must learn how to love everyone. That includes the people that we don’t like, the people who don’t agree with us, and the people we fear. Take Jesus, for example, his love of men was so great that he shared his last meal with a man while being fully aware that he would betray him. We are talking about Judas, of course. So why is this life principle so important? Well, first and foremost, we are asked by God to love our neighbors and by neighbors, he means everyone living on this planet. In God’s perspective, the world that He created is one single neighborhood in which all people live next door to each other. That means that loving each other is a very important lesson for us, and, luckily, Jesus teaches us how. Treating everyone as our friend even when they are strangers, sick, or poor. In other words, it’s about being welcoming towards every person that you meet. For example, Goff’s friend, Walter, works at the airport and part of his job is welcoming refugees with a beaming smile and open arms. But in order to live by this idea, one must work at building an entire kingdom, instead of building just a castle. So, instead of building walls that are meant to keep others out, we should work towards building a kingdom in which everyone feels safe and included. And it is important to understand that everyone really does mean everyone, even the people who prefer to build walls around them. Being invited to a “crop drop” organized by a church in Alabama was what made Goff realize how important this philosophy is. A “crop drop” is an event during which different churches and organizations join forces and give leftover potatoes to the needy. Goff was so moved by this event because he witnessed how the participants broke their metaphorical walls and, for a short period of time, lived together in the same kingdom. Rather than acting as different entities or opposed churches, people came together to form a big and beautiful community. So, if you want to learn how to lead a more loving life, you should start by taking the teachings of Jesus to heart. But that can be a very difficult task. Throughout the next chapter, you’ll learn how to find your courage and start to love others.

Everybody, Always Chapter #2: You will be rewarded with courage and strength if, in the face of adversity, you choose to put your faith in God.

We all know that faith can make things that are impossible possible. Take Goff’s friend, Lex, for example, At the age of eight, Lex lost his eyesight but his faith helped him look towards the future. He joined the US Paralympic team and today, he is a long jumper. So how does Lex know when to jump and when to run without his eyesight. Well, he has a close friend who always shouts his name whenever he is competing. This helps Lex estimate his location and where he needs to go. So what he actually does is putting all of his faith in his friend. And his technique paid off as he just won a World Championship medal. Trusting God is in a way similar to Lex trusting his friend - it is like a leap of faith. There’s no other way to say it: sometimes, we just don’t get the information that we need. This is something that Goff himself, being a keen pilot, came to realize after a terrifying incident with his plane. As he was starting the landing procedures one day, the green lights that were supposed to signal that the landing gear has been safely deployed and that are found on the plane’s dashboard didn’t come on. There was no way for Goff to tell whether he was dealing with a minor light failure or with something much worse. After circling his plane in anxiety, he decided to put his life in the hands of God and decided to descend for landing. It turned out that the plane had a broken light, so Goff landed safely. These things happen all the time, and because we despite not having all the information, we are forced to make decisions anyway. Accepting that God has given us everything we need, rather than everything we want, will help us grow as individuals. And once that leap has been taken, there will be no looking back. Having faith in God will bring about a lot of courage and faith in the face of adversity. Karl, another one of Goff’s close friends, is another perfect example. Early on in his life, due to a swimming accident, Karl became paralyzed from the neck down. However, he overcame all the difficulties that he was confronted with and turned to faith. Karl took the teachings of Jesus to heart and decided to navigate his life focusing on love. He found a striking similarity that brought him great comfort: Jesus only needed his words to spread his valuable message of love. Therefore, by using a special straw to control his wheelchair and his mouth, Karl managed to do things that others would only dream of. Today, Karl helps fight injustice by working in the attorney general’s office.
We read dozens of other great books like Everybody, Always, and summarised their ideas in this article called Anxiety mouse Check it out here!

Everybody, Always Chapter #3: Although it might sound strange, skydiving can help you learn how to love others.

Goff’s son decided to learn skydiving after he graduated from college. As a result, Goff decided to join him so they could take the exciting jump together. Considering how exciting and dangerous skydiving is, it does not come as a surprise that Goff learned much more than he expected. He found out that skydiving is not just about earning how to pack your parachute and how to fasten your harness, but also about how you should treat other people. Skydiving teaches you valuable lessons right from day one when you learn that obeying your instructor is essential. In order to receive a license for skydiving, one must first take a test. The test lasts for less than a minute, but it is essential that in this short period of time you exactly what the instructor says. And this type of behavior can be applied in other aspects of our lives as well. In an ideal world, we’d all be doing as Jesus taught us every single minute. But that is nearly impossible. What is possible, however, is taking a more modest approach and obeying Jesus for one minute whenever we are in a difficult situation. That’s a lot better than struggling to act as Jesus would, but instead failing miserably. It is also a good way of coping with the awful experiences that happen while dealing with other people. Once we’ve managed to open our hearts for one full minute, adding another minute will seem easy. The second equally important lesson that Goff learned was that even if only one string of your parachute seems out of place, cutting it and using the backup is essential. When it comes to skydiving, even the tiniest technical problem can be fatal. So faith works in a similar way, if a single piece is missing or is out of place, the consequences can be severe. Because Jesus wished that our faith is perfect, we should reset and rebuild whenever extending our love becomes a difficult task. Finally, Goff also learned that catching others on the bounce is vital and it is a concept that applies to both skydiving and his everyday life. The initial impact when our bodies hit the ground is rarely the thing that kills us. This impact will only break our bones and experienced skydivers know this. The deadly part is when the body bounces off and hits the ground for a second time and the previously broken bones pierce our organs. Whether it’s losing a partner, a job, or something else, we all deal with plenty of bumps over the course of our life. And whenever we go through a difficult moment, it is important to have other people to catch us and to provide love, attention, and care. Catching people, whether they’re bouncing off the ground at skydiving, or bouncing after a difficult situation, and being there for them might save their lives.

Everybody, Always Chapter #4: God loves all of us as children, so we should think of God’s love and use it as an example for our own children.

Goff wanted to learn how to skydive because he loved his son and wanted to experience this with him, not because he simply wanted to have some fun. And that’s precisely what love is. Love is a feeling so strong that it can make us jump off a plane just to be with someone or to help them out. And as the Goff himself puts it, Jesus did something similar when he jumped out of heaven to be here on Earth with us. So what can we do in order to become better parents? Well, we could start by thinking of God and taking his example. We can strive to love our children unconditionally, as he loves his children on earth. That doesn’t mean we should try to control our children and always tell them what to do. In fact, by doing so, we can turn them against us and they’ll ignore and resist our advice more often. We can take Goff’s own experiences as an example: when he graduated from law school, he bought an old pickup truck from his father. His dad gave him valuable advice on how to take care of the truck and how often he should change the oil. But, being a stubborn young man, Goff ignored him. As a result, the truck became increasingly worn and battered. The same thing happens whenever preachers tell people that God wants them to do things in a certain way, rather than teaching people the act of loving God and loving like God. At best, when forced to do a certain thing, people do it out of necessity and not with conviction. So we should focus on telling people how they should aspire to become, and not what they should do. In the Bible, for instance, God tells Noah that he is a sailor and Moses that he’s a leader. Both Moses and Noah become what God told them, despite not having clear instructions on what they have to do. That’s a perfect example of how we should raise our children and become better parents. If instead of simply enforcing a set of rules, we tell our children who they are, we offer them a much healthier environment in which they are capable to grow and find their true path. This is especially important because by showing them our unconditional love, we also show our love for God. After all, we are all his children. Goff, who is the proud father of three children, knows a lot about that. He admits that seeing people do nice things for their kids makes him extremely happy. Whenever he receives such good news he feels as if he receives a priceless gift. Because God is our parent, whenever we treat his other children with love, he will surely be extremely pleased.

Everybody, Always Chapter #5: It is important to understand that love is its own reward and not a competition about winning brownie points.

There are so many people out there who are always waiting for a moment to brag about the good things that they’ve done. They feel as if they are always in a competition to do good deeds in the name of God. According to them, whoever does more good than others is better and can claim the trophy. However, these people will often lose sight of the true meaning of doing good by focusing on the “credit” and appreciation that they are collecting along the way. Unfortunately, all the brownie points that they collect in their own virtue account become worthless as they forget about love. Goff experienced something similar once. A while back he used to go to a certain pizza place with his kids. There the kids could take part in a lot of games and the restaurant would give out tickets that could be used to different get prizes. Whenever they won a few tickets, Goff and his kids would save them hoping that one day, they would be able to claim the grand prize. They ended up having almost one thousand tickets. Unfortunately, when they finally decided to use their tickets for an awesome prize, they ended up winning a pencil. Struggling to do good in the hope that you’ll be better than others at pleasing God is just like Goff’s situation - pointless. We don’t need to rush around like that, as we already have the greatest prize of all - God’s love. The only thing that really matters is that we continue to love God, his children, and teach others how to do the same. The only thing that God needs from us is our heart. So what can we do in order to become more loving towards the rest of the world? Well, for starters, we must avoid making it all about ourselves. Let’s take a look at another situation from Goff’s life. At the end of his previous book called Love Does, Goff included his cell phone number. As a result, he got calls from a lot of people for a long time. He once got a call from a man who was in jail and who needed some money to pay for an ankle bracelet. If he got the bracelet, he would have been allowed to go home on parole. The only problem was that he had no one who could help him with money. As one might expect, after he sent the man some money, Goff never heard from him again. But Goff was not saddened by that, as he wasn’t seeking recognition for his actions, he was merely trying to help someone. Whenever we do something for someone, we should avoid keeping track. Helping others is a lot like being a supportive actor who is only there to help others live their own stories. Once we understand how love and help work hand in hand, we are able to become truly selfless. Only then will we demonstrate true love for our neighbors in the way that would please God.

Everybody, Always Chapter #6: You should be able to put your money where your mouth is whenever you wish to demonstrate your love for others.  

When Goff took his children to the Maddam Tussauds wax figure museum in Washington, they decided to prank two old ladies by pretending to be sculptures. The joke came off perfectly, and the women were convinced that Goff and his kids were wax figures. That’s when Goff realized that he is an excellent poser. But that also made him reflect on the fact that posing wouldn’t get him very far when it comes to love and faith. No matter whom we pretend to be, God will always know the truth. Let’s think of a story from the Bible. In the Acts of the Apostles, the fifth chapter, a couple called Sapphira and Ananias decide to sell their piece of land. Consequently, the two find a buyer for the land and afterward, they lie that they’ve donated all the money to the needy but keep it instead. So what does God do when he sees what Ananias and Sapphira did? He strikes both of them dead! Although things won’t turn out the way they did for Sapphira and Ananias, telling lies will always have bad consequences. However, we all tell lies occasionally - even the author of the book admits to doing it sometimes. In an attempt to impress his wife, Goff once told her that he was going to hike up and down a hill five times. He couldn’t do it, but when he got home, he told her that he did - which was a blatant lie. But it is a well-known fact that nothing good comes out of lying. In fact, even in Goff’s case, his lie didn’t do anything to support his cause. Hiking the hill would have been good for his health, but he lied, so he basically cheated himself. It is important to remember that Actions are what really counts, and not words. A great example of this is another one of Goff’s friends, Adrien who is an ID checker at an airport. Adrien’s job is quite stressful, as he had to deal with irritated and difficult customers on a daily basis. Yet, somehow, he manages to treat each customer with respect and courtesy regardless of his attitude. Rather than making a big deal and complaining about his work environment and just saying how he should treat people, Adrien just does it. We can learn a lot about love and respect from Adrien’s story. When his children were little, Goff used to read to them from a children’s book that had an important message: people become what they put in their “buckets.” Goff took the book’s message to heart. After reading it to his kids, he imagined that he was carrying a bucket with him at all times and he decided to fill it with one of the virtues that he felt he lacked - patience. But it wasn’t enough to just say that he was going to become more patient, so in order to really drive the point home, he started to carry a real bucket with him. Goff’s case is a little bit extreme, of course, but it demonstrates a key point: if we wish to become better people, we must do it the right way.

Everybody, Always Chapter #7: You can achieve anything when you have courage and faith and are willing to forgive everyone, even your worst enemies.

As terrible as it may sound, in some parts of Africa people still believe in magic and allow witch doctors to sacrifice their children. One of the most notable achievements that Goff is extremely proud of is bringing these criminals to trial in Uganda. What Goff did was not just an exemplary lesson of justice, but also a moment to reflect on the importance of forgiveness. Witch doctors are convinced that the head, blood, and genitals of children have potent magical properties. They believe this so firmly that they would do almost anything to get hold of them including hurting people and kidnaping the children. Because a lot of people, mostly children, are hurt as a result of the witch doctors’ actions, there aren’t a lot of witnesses left, so apprehending these criminals can be extremely difficult. Thus, many African communities live in terror as they worry about their children’s safety constantly. A child named Charlie managed to miraculously survive such an ordeal and Goff encouraged him to testify against the person who hurt him. The criminal, a man called Kabi was identified and found guilty. Fighting for justice and succeeding was a historic moment for Uganda and Charlie’s courage set a precedent for future convictions. But Goff’s work in Uganda didn’t stop with Charlie’s story. On another visit to the country, lead by his firm belief that spreading love and forgiving one’s enemies is essential, Goff decided to visit Kabi in prison. Despite dealing with one of the most terrifying criminals he’d ever met, Goff found the inner strength to forgive the shaman for his terrifying deeds. Eventually, after discussing with Goff, Kabi understood the consequences of his actions and expressed remorse. Over several visits, Goff managed to teach the shaman about love and about the lessons that Jesus taught us and Kabi saw the light. He even started preaching love, forgiveness, and the word of God to his fellow inmates! This experience had a great impact on Goff and he was immediately convinced that it’s very important for him to continue working in Uganda. He even founded a special school for people who used to practice witchcraft and taught them important skills such as reading and writing and how to love others. That paid off and two of the people who graduated from Goff’s school took the lessons of God to heart and continued Goff’s mission. They even saved another child. The way in which Goff worked with the people he feared and who could easily be considered enemies is an amazing example of the good that can come from forgiveness and love.


What was the key message of Bob Goff’s Everybody, Always? Bob Goff is a man who decided to live up to the example that Jesus gave us and to lead a life focused on love and forgiveness. As expected, leading this type of life is not always easy and Goff himself admits it. But thankfully, life is full of unexpected events and inspiring stories that reveal God’s presence. If we have the courage to embrace them and to take a leap of faith, we start to learn how to love everyone and how to become better people. Valuable advice: Learning to love everybody can be difficult and it’s best to start with small steps. Mastering Jesus’s message of forgiveness and love is a bit similar to learning a new language. Jumping directly to the difficult parts such as conjugating verbs without knowing the basics is a bad idea. It’s important to start slowly, by learning a few essential words and concepts each day. This approach will get you much further if you stick to it. This is also the best way to practice your faith. If you want to win the race, you must start slow and steady. Rather than trying to get too far in one go, try adding a little more to your spiritual life each day.
Suggested further reading: Find more great ideas like those contained in this summary in this article we wrote on Anxiety mouse