“All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.” 1 Corinthians 10:23
Anyone who reads our blog regularly knows that I am an avid reader. I read all sorts of things: suspense novels, historical fiction, novels that address ethical questions, legal thrillers, nonfiction books about the brain, mental illness and other medical issues, spiritual autobiographies, books on prayer and other aspects of Christian living, the Bible (of, course) and more. None of these books are “unlawful” and sometimes I use my reading time to just relax and take my mind off my responsibilities and the stress of everyday life. Of course, we learn something even when we read books that seem merely escapist — we increase our vocabulary, travel to foreign cultures, grow in understanding people very different from ourselves, etc….I’m sure you could add to the list. However, it is also true that some books are more edifying than others.
Most of the time I am reading two books at once: one that is just for fun, and one that builds me up in some way. I read my serious book for a bit first thing in the morning (when I’m fresher) and the other one throughout the day and before bed. Right now my morning book is called, Gracious Uncertainty: Faith In The Second Half of Life by Jane Sigloh. In the forward, Jane is described as a “wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, poet, vintner, cook, gardener, and story keeper.” The book is a serious of short essays, starting with a memory about her spiritual life, many from her childhood and youth. It has inspired me to look back on my own spiritual journey and consider writing some of those memories down for my children and grandchildren.
I also try to do my Bible study early in the day. I’ve been reading through the book of Acts (that’s what we’re studying in our Tuesday morning class at church) and parts of 1 Kings (our Sunday School unit this quarter is called ‘Kings and Prophets–we’ve been using material from Concordia Publishing, if anyone is interested).
My point in all this is simply: if you’re a reader, like I am, be a good steward. Read to relax, but also try to also spent time with things that are truly worthwhile. Don’t have much time? Pick a book like the one I mentioned or a devotional that has short chapters or essays and read one a day. Read through the gospels in small bites. Read a Psalm each day. Then think about what you’ve read. Write down quotes or verses that strike you. Talk to others about what you’ve been reading. Build yourself up.
P.S. The Lutheran Ladies recently signed up to be B&H/Lifeway Bloggers, and review new books. Look for our book reviews on our blog and B&H Publishing website. Hopefully our reviews will point you toward some edifying reading!