I know that sometimes people are told to gather what matters to them before they evacuate their homes. Often they may only be given minutes to do this and sometimes they are told it can only be what fits in a small box.
As a boy I grew up without a television but my parents made sure I always had books to read. They were mostly purchased at the Goodwill store but I became a voracious reader. In my adult life and in ministry I bought books. I loved my library and I have always believed that leaders are readers. A few years ago the amount of volumes I possessed became troubling to me. I am not sure why but I kept thinking that I should downsize and get rid of hundreds of book out of the perhaps a couple thousand I owned.
Over the last two years my life has been about change and a big part of that change involved possessions and unloading a lot of stuff that had accumulated over the years. The library is gone for the most part but I sat last evening and thought about the books I kept and why I held onto them.
I held onto these because Oswald Chambers has always been one of my favorite writers even though his widowed wife compiled these books after his death.
These books challenge me and move me so they continue to reside on my shelf.
I also kept a few newer books that I want to read again or that I have been reading in the last year.
I am not recommending them to anyone else just saying that these are of interest or help to me. I don’t miss my large library but it is very interesting to be forced to narrow down your collection to what you consider to be important instead of finding importance by the size on ones library. This pile of books are some of my favorite more current writings.
Dallas Willard, Tim Keller, J.I. Packer, Dennis Kinlaw and Brennan Manning are authors I tend to read over and over.
My writer’s reference is there because I think someday will be a writer when I grow up.
As much as I don’t like it all that much I also have purchased quite a few books through Kindle. Included in these books are books by Henri Nouwen. I don’t know what I would have done in the last couple of years without his writing.
My current electronic reading list looks like this. One of the best things about my life these days in the ability to read, wait and think about life. I am under no pressure to perform in ministry. In the wilderness of the last couple of years I never quit reading or thinking.
My thoughts about God, based on personal experience from where I am in life, are so different then what I could have possibly known if I were still in public ministry.
He is the God I never knew or at least never knew Him as I know Him now. As uncomfortable as it may make us God never quits loving when we do. He never gives up on people when we do. He never turns His back on people when we do. He is never hateful when we are. He never shuns. He never runs the other direction. He is Jesus Christ and He is the same, yesterday, today and forever!
There is one other book that I also hold dear. I have one by my bed, one on my phone and one in my desk drawer at work. In fact the one I have at work is an old New Testament given to my dad by my mom in about 1982. It is marked up from use but I am thankful to have it and the freedom to read it without fear of reprise. In this age of uncertainity and world confusion I will hold to God’s Word the best I can. Failure is not final. Forgvieness is a gift of God’s eternal grace. I love God and will press onward.