I’ve heard people say “I don’t like to read.” That is like saying that you don’t like to eat. You just haven’t found what you like. Reading isn’t an exercise in patient boredom or a test, like we are often presented in school. Reading is a way of communicating with someone and allowing them to communicate with you through time and space. Through reading, I can sit down with C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton and hear their ideas on a variety of topics unfiltered through the memories of others and in their own voice. I can listen to Hildegarde or Elizabeth I and hear the thoughts of their contemporaries. I can sit under the lecture of the teams who created my computers and hear exactly what this machine that daily causes me to doubt my sanity was intended to do. Reading is like speaking or listening (whether with your ears or eyes), it must be learned but is necessary for a fully developed human experience.
Moreover, as people of the book, our relationship with reading is direct. We cannot allow anything to keep us from the words that bring life. And we must be valiant advocates of systems that teach others the secrets of literacy. We are people of the book. And reading is where we are to learn and grow. Once someone told me that church was a place for people who really wanted to join a book club but didn’t actually want to read. That is a sad thought. Reading our primary text, the Bible, should be the core of our spiritual discipline. And we should strive to embed the practice of meditating on the words that bring life daily.
You would be considered a fool if you walked into a banquet hall full of interesting and brilliant people and buried yourself on your smart phone in the corner rather than speaking to any of them. When we choose not to access the unprecedented materials available to us from such a wide and diverse set of brilliant authors, we are essentially doing the same.
Want to be a better leader? Read. Want to build a stronger organization? Read. Want to be a better parent? Read. Want to be wealthier? Read. Want to improve in almost any area? Read. Even industries like gardening and music and graphic design benefit from reading theories, opinions, and practices of experts.
How many books could you commit to read a month? If you are a Christ follower, how much of the Bible would you like to read daily? What is keeping you from those goals? It takes significantly less time than it seems to read. It is, like anything else, a matter of deciding it is important enough to actually do.
So, today I encourage you to find a way to become a reader. Your life will be better for it.