In some respects I view 2012 as a kind of forced sabbatical. I’ve read more books than normal and written more words than ever. It’s been incredibly helpful, to me at least, not only to read books, but to summarise, reflect and begin to apply what I’ve been reading. In fact, this has been some of the most careful reading I’ve done in a long time. Many of the summary/reviews have appeared on this blog and so far I’ve restricted myself to books that I’d encourage others to read. Books that haven’t made the grade have either been left unfinished or unreviewed.
When I began this process I worried that it wasn’t a good use of my time. If I wasn’t going to live that long, should I really waste it reading books? I knew it was a step up from watching TV and DVDs, but it still seemed a little introspective and indulgent. However, I don’t feel this way today. Rather, I’m keen to keep learning as long as I can so that I’ll be better equipped to encourage and resource others. My whole adult life has been shaped and influenced by books. Some of these books I’ve read and long forgotten, but others continue to guide me in the things that matter. Supreme among these is the Bible, followed by those that learn from the Bible and put it into practice. There are many others that contain great wisdom, make a practical difference in the lives of the reader, yet have nothing to do with the Bible. But we’d do well to be discerning about how we fill our minds and use up our time.
11 The words of the wise prod us to live well.
They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.
They are given by God, the one Shepherd.
12-13 But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:
Do what he tells you.
14 And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:11-14 The Message)
Someone once said that they wished 90% of writers wouldn’t bother and the other 10% would write more. It’s true that there is much drivel between the covers of books. My desire is to focus on the 10%, to learn myself, and to urge others to do the same. I thank God for his Book. And I thank him for creating people with the ability to think, imagine, create, and tell. Books are a wonderful gift.