For it is by grace you have been saved...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Need to Read

In one of the most quoted quotes about quotes and quoting, Charles Spurgeon once said, and I quote:  “Give yourself unto 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 that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.”

A later part of that same quote, less often quoted says this:  “We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, 'Bring the books' — join in the cry.”

Spurgeon was certainly one who practiced what he was preaching.  Here is a great little article with a few more quotes about reading from the Prince of Preachers.  It's not that long and worth time to check out, so click on over.

The reason I've been thinking about this is simply due to the fact that I've obviously not been posting here as often as I used to.  In fact, most of my posts have had something to say about how I haven't been posting.  Sense a trend?

And while there many reasons as to the lack of output here, I think the one major reason has to do with a lack of input.  Quite honestly, I'm just not reading as much as I used to.  I've had poor eyesight since I was just a little tot.  I started wearing contacts in high school out of self defense: I kept getting injured by the NASA-space-shuttle-thickness lenses in my glasses (this was of course in the days before these nice compressed lenses, but anyway).  My prescription is like -.750 in one eye and -.1050 in the other.  So reading has always been a bit of a chore, too much has always been a headache inducing strain.

A couple years back I was diagnosed with a degenerative condition in the already worse of the two eyes and some other issues with the other eye and....well, reading has become more and more difficult.  By the time I do the basic reading and studying for two sermons and a couple Bible studies each week, I'm pretty worn out.  Extra reading, for-fun reading has become less and less.  Large print texts and those I can get on my Kindle (so I can enlarge the font) are helpful, but still.

Anyway, this isn't just to whine about my eye problems.  They are minor compared to a lot of other folks, and nothing compared to the things some endure.  But the point is that this has curbed my reading.  And I think, as a direct result, my writing has been curbed as well.  Less intake means less output.

Reading is indeed so very important.  It stimulates the brain, gets those thought processes flowing; not only giving you information, but helping you to think in general.  There is indeed a reason the apostle Paul was asking for his books.  And while I would certainly promote reading “good” books, books on theology and history and the like, reading just for fun is important as well.  (Here is a good article from one of my daughters' favorite writers about the importance of reading fiction, libraries, etc.

So, I'm going to make a concerted effort to crack a few more books and stop whining about how “hard” it is.  I know I need to stimulate those brain cells with more than just coffee (though coffee is....well, if you've read here before, you know how I feel about coffee!).  Hopefully, that will increase the almost-useful output in this space, but more importantly, will give me a few more weapons to use in my Master's service.  I strongly encourage you to do the same.  

If you're looking for some help in knowing what to read, this is a great time of year because so many folks are doing their "best of the year" book lists and so on.  Here are just a couple of examples: 
So get out there and pick up a book.  You need to read!

ADDENDUM:  As usually happens, I find something else as soon as I post something.  Here is Tim Challies' reading challenge for the new year.  With several options, this is a great plan.   

1 comment:

Tim A. Blankenship said...

Scott, Thanks for the post. I appreciated the thoughts on reading. Like you I too have not done as much reading.
Spurgeon is one of my favorite preachers to read; if not my favorite.
I saved your "Drink good Coffee Read good Books" sticker.
Thanks again.
T.A.