Guest Post By John Richardson “…You find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax. All you need is a book.” The Cat in The Hat was a favorite of mine and for many years the only book I had ever finished…for a while. As a child I loved to read, but as time passed my patience and desire waned. I filled my time with easy things and left books and all of their nerdy stereotypes on the shelf. All of this changed when I became a Christian, because to know God required me to read and study His Word. The Christian walk placed the thing I loved most (God) against the thing I hated worst (reading). God won and keeps on winning as I fall more in love with His Word. Not only did I grow in my desire to read God’s Word, but I also found myself picking up books that helped me understand him more. Soon I piled books around myself and held tightly to Ravi Zacharias’ words, “Our intellect is not intended to be an end in itself, but only a means to the very mind of God.” Soon though my passion for God and the intellectual pursuit of Him became an idol, as I bragged about my ability to devour books. God smashed my idol on the ground and I began to ask, “How do I glorify God through my reading and work to ensure I was not reading in vain?” God clearly spoke in verse 3 of Philippians 2: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (or yourself for me). This moved me to read and learn in a way to not be a cul-de-sac, but a conduit of the knowledge. Below is the method that I began to employ: I continued to devour books, but I employed a strategy to ensure that my reading did not end only in my own growth. As I read now I do a few different things that help me record the interesting ideas and easily pass them on to others.
- As I read I highlight portion of the book that I find moving, thoughtful, or controversial. This is not a huge insight but it doesn’t stop there.
- I keep word documents with specific titles (suffering, faith, culture, etc.) to track the recorded ideas according to the categories. As I read new ideas I just keep making word documents.
- Example: Truth
- The example allows me to inventory all of the content so that I can use the quotes/thoughts in sermon prep, discipleship conversation, and counseling sessions.