Friday, September 21, 2012

"But I'm Not A Reader"

If you are a Christian, you know that Bible reading, study, and meditation is not optional.

Now, it's not "required" in the sense that God gets ticked off if you don't tick off enough Bible reading boxes this week. It's not "mandatory" in the sense that a certain amount of Bible reading is necessary for entrance into God's good graces.

Bible reading is necessary in the way food is necessary to your body's survival; the way oxygen is necessary for breathing. It's "required" in the sense that you "do not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Moses said, in Deuteronomy 32:47, "For it is no empty word for you, but your very life."

If you call yourself a Christian and want to survive spiritually and grow (rather than resembling tumbleweed or chaff - see Jeremiah 17:5-6 & Psalm 1:4), you must read and study and meditate on God's Word.

If that sounds like a burden, it ought to bother you. If that sounds like bad news, let me remind you that this is an invitation to chew on the sweet and savory good news of the gospel!

(Now for a little hypothetical dialogue)

“But I’m not really a reader.”

How many times have I heard that?! If I only had a dollar...

So what?! I’m not really a runner – but I need to exercise!
I’m not really a person who enjoys fasting – but I need it!

Let's be honest, you will read what you need to read. For school, for work, if your job depends on it, you will read. And, you will read what you want to read. There are things that come along that you want to read. Sports Illustrated? The newspaper? That cooking or decorating magazine? That NYTimes bestseller everyone is talking about?

“I don’t really have time to read.”

Rubbish. If you are watching more than 30 minutes of TV a week, you have time to read. If you have a commute, no matter how short, you can "read" by listening to the Bible on CD or mp3.

Do you know how many books you can read in 1 year if you read for 15 min a day? Check this math:
Suppose you read slowly like I do – maybe about the same speed that you speak - 200 words a minute. If you read fifteen minutes a day for one year (say just before supper, or just before bed), you will read 5,475 minutes in the year. Multiply that by 200 words a minute, and you get 1,095,000 words that you would read in a year. Now an average serious book might have about 360 words per page. So  you would have read 3,041 pages in one year. That’s ten very substantial books. All in fifteen minutes a day.
I'm all for lots of different kinds of reading, but let's just stick with Bible reading for now. Though it varies slightly depending on the translation, the Bible contains just under a million words. Look back at the math in the quote above. You could read the entire Bible in one year in just 15 minutes a day! Don't believe me? I dare you to test the theory.

Bottom line: If you're playing the "But I'm not a reader" card, I'm calling your bluff. Just be honest, you don’t want to’d rather watch TV. If you admit that, at least you’ve been humbly honest. And God gives grace to the humble…often through what they read!

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