From Our Hearts to Yours
Wisdom and knowledge don’t come without effort. A big part of that effort involves reading. Here’s something to think about: If you don’t see reading as important, then your children probably won’t either. You yourself need to be convinced that being a reader is an important part of growing both spiritually and mentally. Only as you model this to your children will they become readers.
Perhaps you don’t like to read. You never have. But it doesn’t have to continue to be that way. Reading is just like any other skill. How do you learn a skill? You start from the beginning and develop the skill as you go. Start by picking books about subjects you are highly interested in-history, health, a hobby. Or start reading books that help you solve a problem you’re struggling with-like how to better manage your time or finances, how to be a better at your job, how to be a better spouse and parent.
A good way to start up is to set a goal of reading one chapter a day of the book of your choice. Set aside time to make that happen-like during your lunch hour, or the kids’ nap time, or during your visit to a coffee shop.
And don’t forget-the first book you want to read and have your children read is the Bible.
I am a part of a men’s Saturday morning Bible study at my church. The study started at 7:00 am, so I have to leave home at 6:30 to get there on time. Each Saturday as I drive to the church, my route takes me by a golf course that was filled with men playing golf and a lineup of carts waiting to tee off. Because many of the golfers are already far along on the course, it is evident they got there much earlier in the morning… like about 6:00 am!
By contrast, when I arrive at church, only a few men are there. I am always amazed that so many non-Christian men are willing to get up so early on a Saturday morning to play golf, but so few Christian men are willing to get up early to study and grow in God’s Word.
I know finding a balance that ensures that God is my #1 priority isn’t an easy matter. Even after decades of being a Christian, I’m constantly having to evaluate my choices. Here are some questions that help me, and can help you too. Invite the Lord to help you with your priorities.
- Am I choosing the world over God and His Word?
- Am I choosing hobbies and sports to the point of excluding any time that could be spent reading my Bible and growing in faith?
- Am I choosing fun at the expense of being in a Bible study group?
Over the years I’ve traveled to India 15 times for ministry. Because of my deep interest in India, my eye was drawn to this story that speaks of doing your best at whatever God calls you to do.
A missionary from India told about an army officer who stopped to have his shoes shined by a poor Indian boy on the street. The lad launched into his task with such enthusiasm and vigor that the man was utterly amazed. Instead of an ordinary, slipshod performance with an all-too-eagerly outstretched hand for a tip, the boy worked diligently until the leather sparkled with a brilliant luster.
The officer asked, “Why are you taking so much time to polish my boots?”
“Well, sir,” was the reply, “last week Jesus came into my heart and now I belong to Him. Since then, every time I shine someone’s shoes, I keep thinking they’re His, so I do the very best I can. I want Him to be pleased!”
This young man demonstrated a desire to do his best. Because of what Christ has done for you and me, how can we do less than give Him our best?
- We give God glory when we do our best.
- We represent the Lord Jesus, therefore we do our best.
- We serve the Lord and not men, so we do our best.
- We provide a living model of our risen Savior while we do our best.
- We fulfill God’s purpose as we do our best.
Jesus tells us to pray in times of trouble. He “told His disciples a parable…that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Praying instead of giving up means looking to God in times of trouble. This kind of praying keeps us from caving in.
I once read a story about a young boy who was saved from drowning by his brother and carried home unconscious by his group of friends. The grateful father wanted to know exactly who had done what so he could properly thank each child. So he said to John…
“Well, John, what did you do?”
He replied, “Oh, I jumped into the water and pulled him out!”
“And James and Thomas, what did you do?” questioned the dad.
“Oh, we carried Danny home!”
“And Mary, what did you do?” came the next inquiry.
And poor little Mary, who was only three years old, burst into tears and said, “Daddy, I couldn’t do anything at all, so I just prayed and prayed!”
Then her father gently said, “Mary, you deserve the most praise of all, for you did all you could, and God answered your prayers through John and James and Thomas.”
My friend, in times of trouble…when you can’t do anything at all…just pray and pray! Turn to God in prayer during the tough times, when you don’t know where else to go or what else to do.