We Have Been Called to Read
So stop saying “I’m bored” or “there’s nothing to do” or “I don’t understand.”
We have an epidemic of young people who say:
There are two primary things wrong with this statement:
- It is a sin.
- It is easily fixable.
It is a sin because it shows lack of contentment in what God has given us. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” — Heb. 13:5
Tell Siri that you are bored and you are likely to get a response like the one in this screenshot. Siri’s answer reveals something: we expect to be entertained.
Here’s the thing — There is an epidemic related to the “I’m bored” epidemic, and it is of people who say:
“I don’t read!”
I want to encourage you that:
- we should read;
- we can read; and
- there are good things to read.
We should read because we need the right heroes.
Where do we get our heroes today? We get them the same place I got them when I was a kid:
- television & movies
In other words …
Our heroes are our entertainers.
Here were my heroes growing up in the 1980s:
While I failed in my attempt to become the second baseman of the Chicago Cubs or the leader of the Autobots — and though I may have come a little closer to Alex P. Keaton — I was clearly not looking in the right places.
The right books, though, can provide the right heroes, or at least show us what they look like.
We should read because it is a cure for boredom.
It is a difficult thing to be bored when:
- we are engrossed in a story
- we have someone to cheer for
- our minds are engaged
We should read because it is a cure for lack of wisdom.
Paul directs Timothy to “give attention to reading.” (1 Tim 4:13.) The Greek word translated into reading in that verse is anagnosis. Anagnosis comes from anaginosko and anaginosko means “to know again, i.e. to read.” (Strong’s Concordance.) In other words, knowing and reading are related.
Reading Goes Hand-in-Hand With Knowledge
That reading leads to knowledge is a truth that appears throughout the Bible. Look at Isaiah 29:11 and you will see that one who is “learned” is equated with one who can read.
Moses wrote the words of the Lord, and then “he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.” (Ex. 24:7.)
When the Israelites came into the promised land, and a king was set over them, the king was to copy the book of the law and read in it daily, so that he would fear God, keep His commandments, and remain humble. (Deut. 17:14–20.) The book of the law was also to be read to the Israelites, “that they may learn.” (Deut. 31:11–13.)
David instructed the teaching of the use of the bow, which was “written in the book of Jasher.” (2 Sam. 1:18.)
The writer of the Books of Kings referenced other books (“are they not written in …?”).
Paul instructed the Thessalonians to read his epistle to “all the holy brethren.” (1 Thess. 5:27.)
Jesus admonished the misjudgment and cunning of the Pharisees (Matt. 12:3–5; 19:4; 22:31) with:
“Have ye not read?”
Mark Twain is often credited with saying that “the man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them,” or words of similar effect, though the actual source is unknown. Regardless of the source of the quote, is there really a great difference between one who cannot read and one who will not?
What to Read?
That is, outside of the Word of God, what are the “good books?”
We shouldn’t read just anything just for the sake of reading.
We also shouldn’t necessarily read what everyone else is reading.
Here are tips for finding good books:
- Seek books with a Biblical worldview
- Seek recommendations from those you trust
- Use your church’s bookstore or library
- Learn about authors
- Learn about publishers
- Focus on certain genres: history, biography, Bible exposition, God-honoring fiction
- Re-read the good ones
Won’t reading books distract me from Bible reading?
That is possible and we must guard against that. One way to so guard ourselves is to read the right books. That is, read ones that exalt the Word of God.
What is more likely to happen is that a love of reading, and of reading good books, will help us love reading the Bible. When we love knowledge, we will seek out the Bible.
So give attention to reading.
Adapted from a message I preached at Twin Pines Baptist Church on August 8, 2012