The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.
In the 1993 movie Shadowlands, a student who is struggling with the decision to remain in school due to his infatuation with reading tells the actor who plays C.S. Lewis, “We read to know we are not alone.” Some have actually ascribed this quote to Lewis himself, but I am unable to verify that claim.
Regardless of the source, this statement resonates with me, because I love to read. I grew up in a home of an obsessed reader – my Dad. Currently, my father possesses a library of 10,000-15,000 books (give or take a few thousand). And other than a few commentaries here and there, he has read them all! And he could tell you a little something about all of them! And whenever my father sits down to read a book, he often reads it cover-to-cover in a day or two! My Dad inhales books.
I am more of a reader who likes to spread the pages out over a week or so. I usually take a book and read 1-2 chapters per day. But I can reads as many as 3 different books at one time. Thus, on average, I have the privilege of reading 6-8 books per month.
I have learned the value of reading in ministry, because ministry can be a lonely calling. Friendships can sometimes be a one-way investment. Hours can often be worked alone in an office. Decisions are sometimes made without the help or input of others. Serving the church in a full-time capacity can often feel like you are all alone.
So I find reading to be a comfort during those seasons of loneliness. I read to know that I am not alone.
In my meager 1,600 volume library, I am surrounded by many friends and disciplers. Men like J.C. Ryle, J.I. Packer, John Macarthur and John Calvin give input into my walk with the Lord on a regular basis. I find myself consulting them in their books, as if I am asking them a question in my office. They comfort me because they talk to me through their writings.
When I am in need of encouragement, I read a section from John Piper.
When I am needing to provoke myself to pray, I open up my copy of The Valley of Vision.
When I want a devotional thought from Scripture, I turn to Charles Spurgeon.
When my view of God is in need of heightening, I read a few pages of No One Like Him by Charles Feinberg.
When I need to be reminded of why Christ loves the church and I should to, I read an article from In My Place Condemned He Stood.
In 2016, I have found myself consulting Wayne Grudem’s book Politics According to the Bible to remind me of the biblical view of a range of voting issues.
I guess you could say, my books are my friends. Their authors disciple and preach to me. So yes, I read to know I am not alone.