Warren Buffett, the investing genius known as the Oracle of Omaha, says he spends 80% of his day reading. Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft reads for an hour every night before he goes to bed. Dave Ramsey, the immensely popular author and radio host, reads a book a week.
It has often been quipped that if you want to be a leader, you will be a reader. If you want to succeed, you seek deeper understanding of the world around you. Reading expands your mind, broadens your thinking, and sharpens your mind. There are even studies that say it staves off dementia in older adults. Reading is of immense practical benefit.
But I have a better reason for you to read.
Christians read because we are people of the Book.
Our faith is transmitted to us in the form of one of the most intriguing anthologies ever compiled. And for us to plumb the riches of the Bible, we do well to sharpen our reading skills against other types of literature. Have you ever considered that reading epic adventures like the Odyssey or Beowulf could help you better appreciate the books of Samuel or Kings? Books on leadership may shed light on the dynamics of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. Poetry helps us approach Psalms, Lamentations, and the Prophets. Put simply, a broad reading program will only enrich your approach to scripture.
Reading also gives us the opportunity to hear how other people apply and live our faith. When we read other Christian authors, it is like sitting down with a friend and learning from their struggles and stories.
These are but some of the reasons I commend a summer reading list to our congregation every year. For 2016, I’m recommending a few of the most helpful books I’ve read over the past year. We will have these books available in the entry foyer by the office – I hope you’ll pick up one or two of them to enjoy this summer.
Happy reading! Russell
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. Told from the perspective of 11 year old Rueben Land, this is a story about family, betrayal, redemption, sacrifice, and faith. This story begins slowly but builds in intensity, culminating in a breathtakingly beautiful conclusion. This is a fine example of contemporary literature that takes faith seriously without approaching it in a trite manner.
With by Skye Jethani. In this concise book, Jethani suggests that the dynamics of faith are worked out in the prepositions. Do we primarily relate to God as above us or under us? Do we think of God as for us or against us? He encourages us to deeply reflect on what it means that God is with us. Don’t let the simplicity of the concept fool you, there are deep and helpful spiritual truths to be found in this book.
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. Peterson’s reflections on the Psalms of Ascent has become a contemporary spiritual classic. This is a book that I have come back to again and again in my life, and I’ve always benefitted from it.
This article originally published in the June 2016 edition of the Covenant Courier.