The Need to Read

A package for me arrived in the mail on Tuesday. It was a slightly worn copy ofthe Norton Anthology of American Literature Third Edition Shorter. It was the text we used for a literature class in college, and I ordered it online last week. “Why?” is the obvious question you’re asking, right? (…I mean, besides the obvious attraction of the title, which I’m sure has already caused you to covet my copy!)

I bough it because I intend to read it—every 8-point-font word of its 2,698 pages! I intend to read it because pastors must be readers. After all, our life and ministry is largely preoccupied with words—studying words, speaking words, writing words. Pastors are called to acquaint people with God. We are purveyors of truth, and the bulk of what we do takes its shape from the fact that God revealed Himself in a book. Pastors who demur with “I’m just not much of a reader” have not adequately reckoned with the ramifications of the final form of God’s fullest self-revelation—i.e.,words, not images, songs, feelings, or objects.

By the way, there’s a very important application for you here, too. The Bible is God’s revelation to all people, not just to pastors. Words are important for everyone. Are you reading? If not, will you consider this a challenge to change your habits and read? Your time is a gift, as is your mind. Don’t waste both on excessive TV and movies. Read!

Perhaps you’re still curious about why I’m reading the Norton Anthology of American Literature—hundreds of thousands of words that aren’t inspired, aren’t powerful to save, and say little to nothing about Jesus. Stay tuned…