Resolutions And Reading
I recently read a quote from C.H. Spurgeon that struck me. He was commenting on 2 Timothy 4:13 – “When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.” Spurgeon’s comments are a blessed reminder to all in ministry and all others who care to stay engaged to read.
“He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He has had wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up in the third heaven, and had heard things unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He has written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every Christian, ‘Give thyself to reading.’ The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves he has no brains of his own.”
If you glance through “The Treasury of David” and have a look at his “Commenting & Commentaries” you quickly realize that Spurgeon was a committed reader. The prince of preachers was a serious reader. His example challenges me; and I would challenge you to make a New Year’s Resolution to read in 2021.
For the past number of years I have resolved to read daily; first my Bible and then good important books. I always get something from reading Scripture but I am surprised at what reading has afforded me. I generally begin my year by picking a general topic and reading on that topic throughout the year. Last year I read 3 books on the life of Paul and 6 books on Jewish studies. Every year I read at least one book in the field of Psychology and then I look for good biographies. This past year I read a great book on the life of Golda Meir and another on John Adams. In 2021 I hope to read the biographies of Martin Luther and the lives of some Vietnamese missionaries. As a Pastor I read theology and Spiritual formation books; I read books with others in ministry and occasionally I read novels and other good literature.
Go figure, when I opened my Christmas gifts all but one was a book. The majority were for sermon preparation and research but one I am really looking forward to reading is, “Five Minds for the Future” by Howard Gardner.
Two years ago I was in North Carolina and visited the Vanderbilt Mansion. The house is the largest family dwelling in the United States and the grounds are spectacular but what surprised me was the library. The guide told us that Mr. Vanderbilt recorded that he read 4000 books in his life and was the most “well read man in America” by some accounts. That turns out to be 50 books a year for 80 years – WOW! I have got a ways to go and time is running out.
Let me conclude with the wisdom of Solomon which hangs in my office under the picture “The Bookworm” by Karl Spitzweg – “My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
When I put all this together I am resolved to spend adequate time finding good books so that when I read my faith grows and my heart and mind mature. Join me!