“When the Day of Judgement dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards—their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble—the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when he sees us coming with our books under our arms, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.”” Virginia Woolf
They have loved reading.
And Jesus, of course.
Books are an integral part of life. Whether you’ve been swept away with the current tide of e-readers threatening to render good, old-fashioned books obsolete—or you like your good old-fashioned books just the way they are, there’s no better place to get what you need to substantiate your calling before God than to read books. Read, read, read. Beyond knowing Jesus as a person and walking with Him, one of the strongest pieces of advice I would give anyone is to find whatever it is they’re interested in and read all they can about it. Become the expert on that particular subject. Who knows? Maybe that’s where God wants to use you? Do you like ukeleles? Read on. How about the work of Le Corbusier, the architect who created the Brutalist style of architecture? Y’know, his nom de guerre is a play on “raven” in French? I think that’s pretty cool. What do you love to do? Who do you want to be? The dreams you have that drive you on are like magnets pulling you toward the fully-realized formation of God’s dreams for you. No, none of this “law of attraction” stuff that’s bereft of the living presence of God. And no more wondering what it is you’re meant to do. Get to know Jesus. Then you and He will go out and go do it. Start in the library or bookstore and go from there. I feel that the child-like curiousity that propels us to continue learning about our particular trade or discipline is so important to maintain and keep pure. Without it, we become hard, controlling and bitter. We miss the true liberty of the Holy Spirit and consequently (potentially) miss out on the grand overarching calling over our life.
And here’s another side to it: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.” (Amos 5:18)
When we neglect to develop the gifts that God has placed within us, we end up desiring the end. I believe this. In other words, we wish Jesus would either hurry up and come back, or we get bored and wistfully daydream of Heaven to the neglect of “the duty that lies nearest” to quote Oswald Chambers. I really feel for the person who never completed high school or never went to college upon completing high school (nothing wrong with that)—and regrets it. The ones who feel they’ve wasted what time they were given and live in a state of constant regret. Whenever I hear the phrase “I wish I’d gotten an education”, I feel it’s a misnomer. A person’s education should be ever-expanding and always continuing. What they’re saying is that they regret having stopped learning. And sadly, many people who finish school, finish learning—if they ever started in the first place. Be careful.
And here’s yet another side. Notice this from the book of Acts (17:21): “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”
There’s danger in “ever learning, and never [being] able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) When we neglect to take the time to talk to and love and get to know Jesus, we end in missing Him and replacing the fellowship with a bunch of knowledge that won’t get us anywhere or with anyone.
So! Let your curiousity take you to places in God that you’ve only ever dreamed about.
“Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book.” (Job 19:23)
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25)