He was such an avid reader that he took his 117,000 volume library with him whenever and wherever he traveled. His books were carried by a caravan of four hundred camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.

Drive Thru. . .
I Must Have Read That Somewhere
The week of August 1

II Timothy 4:13 is one of those verses that you barely notice, but there is an important principle buried in the biblical footnote. Paul says, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”

Let me offer up another  translation (really a paraphrase): take a book with you wherever you go.

That’s what I do. I usually have  a book very close to where I am. I read at restaurants while I’m waiting to be seated. If I’ve got a few minutes between meetings I’ll read a few pages. I often have a book in the car so I can read at red lights. One of my favorite channels on the XM Radio is the one where they read portions of books and it is not uncommon for me to be listening to a book on audio. And now thanks to the Kindle from Amazon I can carry a library of books with me electronically. (The only downside of the e-book world is that I like to be able to hold the book and turn the pages…but I am all about using what is available, so the Kindle is fantastic. I am now on my second Kindle)

For what it’s worth, I am inspired by Abdul Kassem Ismael, the Grand Vizier of Persia in the 10th century.

Say who?

He was such an avid reader that he took his 117,000 volume library with him whenever and wherever he traveled. His books were carried by a caravan of four hundred camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.

So what’s your excuse?

I know that most of us feel like we’re too busy to read, but if you simply put a book in your bathroom, there isn’t anybody who couldn’t read a book a month. Some of you have even more potential than that! It’s about redeeming the time and being wise with the spare moments in our day.

Stanford physician, Walter Bortz, coined the term disuse syndrome to describe how negligence in the area of physical activity can destroy health. It’s a basic principle of physiology: any part of the body that falls into disuse will atrophy. That certainly includes the mind.

I remember reading a sobering statistic a few years ago. A study found that the average college graduate reads two books a year. I just don’t think that’s good stewardship. I’m not saying that all of our learning ought to come from reading books. Books are just one piece of the pie. But I’m not sure that two books a year is good stewardship of your mind.

The word “disciple” comes from the Greek word mathetes which means “learner.” By definition, a disciple is someone who never stops learning. Your brain only weighs about three pounds. It’s the size of a softball. But did you know that neurologists estimate that you have the capacity to learn something new every second of every minute of every hour of every day for the next three hundred million years? God designed us with unlimited storage capacity! You were designed to never stop learning!

 Have you heard about the book titled The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs?

 It’s subtitled: one’s man humble quest to become the smartest person in the world. To make a long story short, A.J. Jacobs read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. That’s thirty-two volumes. That’s 33,000 pages. That’s forty-four million words!

Jacobs said he did an “intellectual swan dive” after college. He said, “I crammed my cranium with pop culture jetsam.” If we aren’t careful, we can fill our minds with meaningless things. The average American is bombarded with thousands of advertisements every day. There is more information in a Sunday edition of The Washington Post than the average person living in the 18th century would digest in a lifetime. There are hundreds of magazines and thousands of books published each week. Even if you’re in great remote control condition, it’ll still take several minutes to click through the hundreds of channels available on digital cable. And you could spend the rest of your life googling the Internet. Two words: information overload.

Jacobs said he knew the names of ‘N Sync’s singers, including their choreographer. “But this meant anything profound got pushed out. I could talk confidently about the doughnut-eating Homer, but I’d forgotten all about the blind guy who wrote long poems.”

Learning is not a luxury. In his book Megatrends 2000, John Naisbitt says, “Learning how to learn is what it’s all about.” Alvin Toffler adds, “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Learning is a stewardship issue! Someone once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

That’s a pretty good approach to life: keep learning!



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