Not Enough Reading

Fasting television revealed a third personal assessment: I do not read enough.

Reading has always been a part of my DNA.  I still own most of the books I was required to read in high school.  In addition to books I was required to read, I also purchased many books from the annual book sale. The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Conan Doyle, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne as well as many others sit on a shelf in my study today.

Something short-circuited that desire when I entered college.  The evil culprit was laziness.  Thankfully I outgrew that stage soon after entering seminary.  One must be a constant reader in order to graduate from seminary.

Some of you might be asking, since reading is a part of your DNA, then why do you assess that you do not read enough?

Here is my answer.

A day or two after giving up television, I found more disposable hours in my week for other activities.  Instead of filling that time with meaningless pursuits, I increased my reading schedule. The more I read, the more I realized how little I was actually reading.

The first week of free time I read three books.  The only time I ever read more than one book in a week is while I am on vacation.  The next week I read four books.  The passion was increasing.  For the last six weeks I have averaged two books a week.  One Saturday I read a novel in less than six hours.

And what does all that reading produce?

First, reading gives me an insatiable desire to read.  After a quick run to Barnes and Nobles the other day, I now have a stack of “To Read” books that will carry me through April.  The more I read, the more I desire to read.

Also, reading pushes my learning curve beyond its usual limits.  The more I read the more I comprehend.  My old pattern of reading in front of the television included reading and then forgetting.  My new pattern of reading apart from the television includes reading and remembering.

Additionally, reading stirs my creativity.  Reading forces me to think outside of my usual paradigm.  When I read, I get creative.  Reading adds to my imaginative potential.

Also, reading increases my capacity to learn.  I learn more from reading for two or three hours than I can from watching a year’s worth of television.  If someone is willing to spend time researching and writing a book for me to read, then I am more than happy to give them $20 – 25 to learn from their experience or research.

Finally, reading keeps me growing.  When I read I grow.  When I do not read I become stagnant.  We are called to grow, don’t you know?  Peter instructs us,

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18

Reading enables me to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Reading enables me to grow in other areas as well.

One final thought, and I am done.

I have a good friend who often says he is “dumber than a sack of hammers.”

Other than being novel, what makes his statement so shocking is that this friend is really, really, really smart.  So, if he is dumber than a sack of hammers, how dumb am I?

Please, do not answer that inquiry.

After thinking about his personal assessment, I decided I was not going to be dumber than a sack of hammers any longer.  And what is it that makes my friend so smart?  He is a copious reader.  If by reading as much as he does he is dumber than a sack of hammers, then I better get busy reading just to catch up.

So, now you know why I have decided to read more.


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