I love to read.
Or perhaps, more accurately, I have learnt to love to read.
It may not always be the most natural thing to pick up a book. But when I do I’m glad; I open the pages and enter a most wonderful world – of thought.
Why do I read?
I read books to think beyond myself; to move beyond the parameters of my own thoughts and ideas. To read is to converse with the great minds of the past and present. I read because on my own I have a limited perspective, bound in by my conventions. I read to listen to those who live and breathe a different story to my own. I read to grow my compassion and understanding, to express my ideas, to listen, and to learn to be heard.
Even more than reading books, we get to read the Bible. As I read the Bible I get to engage with God in his word. I hear from The Author whose words brought life into being. I hear from God who has made salvation known to me. I become like Timothy, of whom Paul said “…from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15) As I read the Bible I learn what I could never have found out by myself; I learn about Jesus Christ and grow in my devotion to him.
As I read the Bible I hear the thoughts and prayers and passions of the Bible writers. The poets and prophets, story tellers and letter writers – they all write of Christ. They plead and exhort; they teach and they stir our hearts. I learn to think as God would have me think, and to feel as God would have me feel.
And so I read books by Christian authors too. Because the Christians who have gone before me walked a path I am yet to tread; they write of their journey with Jesus and tell me the way. They warn of hidden perils, spur me on with cheers of encouragement, and help me to gaze at Christ in the scriptures. A good Christian book isn’t a task or a project to be ticked off my to do list. It’s an afternoon stroll with an older saint, who shares the wisdom born of their trials and joys. They walk a few steps ahead of my own and call back to tell me the way.
And so I have learnt to love to read, because life is richer for it. You’ll find me at the bookstall…