“Just as art needs no justification—we may rest
assured that beauty, goodness, and truth are well able
to fend for themselves—so also the shelf life
needs no defense.” -Tristan Gylberd
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “The cloak
that I left at Troas with Carpus, when you come, bring
with you, and the books, but especially the parchments”
– 2 Tim. 4:13. We have no idea what these books
were, but we do know that they were very important to
Charles Spurgeon said of Paul’s request: “He
is inspired, yet he wants books! He has been preaching
for 30 years, yet he wants books! He has seen the Lord,
and yet he wants books! He has had a wider experience
than most men, yet he wants books! He had been caught
up into the third Heaven, and heard things it is unlawful
for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written
the major part of the New Testament, yet he wants books!
”As I have read and studied about the lives of
great Christians, leaders and thinkers; nothing stands
out more consistently or monumentally than that they
overcame great difficulty and were influenced by great
books. Books may serve as a mirror or looking glass,
and frequently provide us essential insights and inspiration.
How often a good book has been instrumental in developing
an identity, choosing a calling, receiving needed correction,
or catalyzing one’s big ideas. I believe the desired
mortar for life, and necessary materials for building
leadership are available on bookshelves near you.
Mark Twain once said, “Travel somehow broadens
the mind and softens the heart.” The same could
be said of reading. “The image of life as a road
(journey) is probably the single most popular image
in the world’s literature—all the great
epics are true to life by being true to this image”(Peter
Kreeft). In books, we have the uncanny ability to observe
the mountaintops and valleys of human experience from
a safe distance. Close enough to see and feel; yet far
enough from the reality (of warfare, storms, successes,
sickness, broken hearts or dreams) to learn from and
live to tell about it. We can travel anywhere, sit at
the feet of anyone and journey through any experience
to learn life’s greatest lessons. We simply need
to pick up the right book, a good book and read on.
Warren Wiersbe said, “Reading is not a matter
of having time, but of taking time, of making time.
We always make time for the things that are important
to us…Readers are Leaders! ...so invest time in
reading good books.”
The value of reading is inestimable. “You are
what you read.” “Reading is to the mind
what (food and) exercise is to the body. As by one,
health is preserved, strengthened and invigorated; by
the other, virtue-which is the health of the mind-is
kept alive, cherished and confirmed” (Joseph Addison).
It has been said that the mind grows by what it takes
in, and the heart grows by what it gives out. Therefore,
a life committed to reading and giving is the most likely
to mature and influence.
We should never forget that “the battle for
ideas is fought between the covers of books” (G.E.
Veith). Also, “you can find all the new ideas
in old books; only there you will find them balanced,
kept in their place, and sometimes contradicted and
overcome by other and better ideas” (G.K. Chesterton).
It is certainly true that books and history have a wonderful
way of freeing us from ignorance and the cult of the
contemporary. Let us remember, that God inspired authorship
of a book—the Bible; and both gave us teachers
and called us to a life of learning (discipleship).
At 20Twenty, our hope is to inspire you to embrace
a life of enrichment –feeding on the treasure
stores of wisdom, and growing from the life-lessons
only found in human experience. May you delve into these
recommended readings; and find yourself reading daily,
deeply and intentionally. By doing this, you may win
the war for clarity of vision and thought that is so
critical to our health, vitality and posterity. Then,
as Stu Webber aptly said, you will “see into life—not
just look at it! You will look ahead, scan the horizon,
anticipate needs and opportunities, spot potential dangers,
define, discern, delineate direction, and chart a wise
“How much richer we would be if we would refuse
the books of the hour and discover again the books of
the ages” (Robert Murray McCheyne).