Leaders Are Readers

It’s the first of the fundamentals that we learned in school.  (Reading, writing, texting…)
 
George Washington did not have access to a military academy growing up.  So he read the best military books available in his time and taught himself how to think with a strategic military mind.  Theodore Roosevelt, one of our greatest presidents, died in his sleep and was found with a book under his pillow.  Dr. Suess maybe said it best: “The more that you read, the more things you’ll know; the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
 
For a Christian in particular, the discipline of reading is one of the most soul-enriching practices to develop. By spending time with Christian authors from across the centuries, you will immeasurably deepen your faith, gain new perspectives, sharpen your thinking, learn new skills, be lifted out of ruts, and mobilized for serving your Lord more fruitfully.
 
I recommend that you read across several types of writing:
 
Read biographies. Get up close and personal with men and women of faith. Read biographies of great missionaries – like Hudson Taylor or William Carey. Or great men of faith like Martin Luther or John Wesley. From the 20th century, read “Just As I Am” by Billy Graham, and “The Shadow Of The Almighty”, the story of Jim Elliot written by his wife Elizabeth. A newer biography on the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas will inspire you to stay close to Christ.
 
Read theology. Christianity is so broad and deep. Tell yourself, “This month, I’m going to read a book on prayer.” (I recommend any book by E.M. Bounds, or Philip Yancey’s best-seller, “Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference.”) Or “I want to read a book on Jesus’ death.” (“The Cross of Christ” by John Stott.) Every Christian should have a volume of ‘systematic theology’ in their library which they ought to read from. I recommend Wayne Gruden’s massive “Systematic Theology”, perhaps the most readable, most thorough explanation of what classical Christians believe. Speaking of classics…
 
Read classics. You haven’t lived until you’ve journeyed with Christian in “Pilgrim’s Progress”. Or had tea with C.S. Lewis as he discusses “Mere Christianity”. Or take in Augustine’s “Confessions”. Or Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship”. Or Richard Fosters, “Celebration of Discipline.” Clifton’s “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey” is a real page-turner. 🙂
 
Read ‘saw-sharpening’ books. We’re reading “The Unstuck Church” this summer as a church. I believe that God will speak to our congregation through this book, and put us on a path of growth. If you want to overcome your doubts, read any of Lee Strobel’s “Case For _____” books. If you want to know why Jesus is better than anything this culture has to offer, read books by Chuck Colson, or Francis Schaeffer.
 
The point is, life’s too short and following Jesus too amazing to pass on this incredible ‘habit of the heart’. Don’t say, “Well, I’m not a reader.” If you’re reading this, you’re a reader. Get a move-on.
 

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