“The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when you come, bring with you, and the books, but especially the parchments.” 2 Timothy 4:13.
He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “GIVE THYSELF 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. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. YOU need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the best way for you to be spending your leisure, 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.
Paul herein is a picture of industry. He is in prison; he cannot preach: WHAT will he do? As he cannot preach, he will read. As we read of the fishermen of old and their boats. The fishermen were gone out of them. What were they doing? Mending their nets. So if providence has laid you upon a sick bed, and you cannot teach your class — if you cannot be working for God in public, mend your nets by reading. If one occupation is taken from you, take another, and let the books of the apostle read you a lesson of industry” Charles Spurgeon, Sermon #542
You may have read my most recent post about recognizing an addiction and celebrating three days of sobriety (I still lol at that title). When I wrote “three days”, I was marking three days since I stuffed myself full of Netflix in particular, but I am approaching two weeks since I began cutting out all forms of entertainment (except youtube, I’m not a psycho).
In these past two weeks, then, I’ve had to struggle through an excessive amount of free time. The implication of course is that with said free time has come a crippling boredom. Seriously. If you are a Netflix/entertainment junkie, I dare you to turn it off for two weeks and tell me how easy it was for you. It’s a real struggle, because it’s a real addiction. An addiction that trained me to auto-pilot toward brain-numbing flashes of red, blue, and green pixels whenever I could.
In the absence of that drug, I have been forced to look to other sources of satisfaction. One such source has been my books. The books I nearly worshiped as they came in the mail, week by week, month after month, for the last few years. The books that I surrounded myself with because I knew in them was knowledge that would be of use to me for the rest of my life. A wise investment.
But there are only 24 hours in the day (unless you’re Jack Baeur). And no matter how much I valued these books and understood that in them lie so many answers and joys and insights, how could I get to them when “next episode in 5…4…3…2…1…” was so much easier?
The answer is I couldn’t. Which brings me to the point of this post (lol I’m putting the thesis in the 5th paragraph! Blogs rock). I wholeheartedly agree with Spurgeon that (especially as a Christian) one of the absolute best ways to spend your time is reading. In fact, wherever you can responsibly fit in reading but so choose not to, you are taking a risk.
A Heading to Break up the Monotony
Spurgeon mentions being “laid upon a sick bed” by providence, and making the use of that time to find yourself in a book. I suspect no one reading this is sick in bed (but if I’m wrong, let me know) but you can interpret this sick bed concept the way I do – as having free time. I’m in a place right now where I have a grotesque amount of free time, and it would be an utter shame if in a few years I looked back and had nothing to show for it except completed seasons and high level characters.
I want to challenge you, as I have challenged myself, next time you have an hour of free time and you don’t need to melt your brain with mindless television after a long day or something (because I can sympathize with that need), I recommend opening a good book. Perhaps even the good book. I think it will serve you well, as it has me. Start small.
I’m going to end here, because I have a knot in my neck and I don’t want to type anymore. Also, this is a really sloppy, unorganized post. Oh well. It’s 6am. What do you expect?