Those of you who know me already know this. I love to read. And I read a lot.
I could very happily lose myself in a bookstore. I spend far too much money on books (though I am trying to do better about that) so that my husband has actually given me an allotted amount of money every month for books, so I don't go past it and spend willy nilly. For my birthday last year, he bought me a Kindle, for four very well thought out reasons.
First, he loves me and thought it would be a nice gift.
Second, he is sick of us trying to plan a trip and me needing a separate bag just for the books I bring.
Third, he is getting more and more frustrated with the amount of space the books are taking up, as we live in a small(ish) house and have eight children. I confess, they *do* seem to be taking over a bit.
And fourth, we save a considerable amount of money buying new books on the Kindle, as most of them are cheaper that way.
I tell you all of this because I want you to know, as an avid reader and lover of books, how easy it is to be distracted by good books. And this post is really about one book that stands alone- the Bible.
As my year of prayer progresses, I have begun reading my Bible over again, this time from Genesis straight through to Revelation. I am more and more convinced that it needs to be my first priority when it comes to reading, so that it is what I reach for before I read anything else. Reading His book makes me able to read other books with sufficient light and discernment, it keeps me attuned to His voice.
I have found it is so important to choose carefully what I read, because my days are numbered, my time is limited, I am a vapor...
Amy Carmichael, who has long been my favorite author, writes in her amazing little booklet, God's Missionary, (And I know quotes can sometimes be lengthy and it is easy to tune out, but please, this one is *so* worth the time!),
"Do we never, as missionaries, hear the question 'What is the harm of it?' asked about reading certain books, following certain pursuits, taking our recreation in certain ways?
Perhaps we have been hard at the language, and need change of thought and rest of brain. 'What is the harm of the latest novel, even if it happens to be rather unprofitable?' And we (who have not time to read one out of a thousand of the real books that have been written) spend a precious hour by deliberate choice over something not worthwhile; and when our immediate world interrupts us, breaking in upon us with some call, do we find that we come back to it with quite undistracted gladness? Or do we feel that we have, as it were, to try to come back from somewhere and pull ourselves together, and gird up the loins of our mind, before we are ready to throw ourselves heart and soul into the thick of the fight again?"
And I find this so applicable, so true, and written in such a lovely way that I could never say it better myself.
I do not have the time to waste on anything that is not going to edify my soul.
For me, this is simplified by reading my Bible first, before I pick up anything else. Which means, if I only have a few minutes throughout the day for reading, I read His book.
Elisabeth Elliot wrote, in the preface of her lovely devotion A Lamp For My Feet, (And I must admit, this makes me love her all the more!)
"If you only have five minutes, don't read my book, read God's. It will be a lamp for your feet."
I am aiming, this year, to follow her advice. If I only find I have five minutes, rather than read a blog I love to follow, checking my facebook page, reading a news article, or picking up any other book, I will read God's book.
Then, when life breaks in, I will be equipped to come back to it with "quite undistracted gladness."
And I find His Word is always a lamp unto my feet.