lundi 5 décembre 2011

Why Should I read?

It was the last thing i was expecting. These two elderly folks holding their English bibles entered the warm living room where i was supposed to preach. This happened early this year at a Church Cell I was invited in. I was nervous and a little bit tense. I always feel better talking to young-adults but when the audience changes, i invariably do change too and not necessarily in the best way. Finally, the cell host led us into the introductory prayer and a brief self-introduction before we proceeded with the program. As the two elderly people introduced themselves, i realized that they were intellectuals. The woman told us that she works in the academy and the man didn't tell us that, or i missed it, by he sounded wise - you know, that kind of wisdom that is produced by a life long experience- and felt at ease using both French and English. I loved his introductory advise.

Then came the time to share the word. I was already given not only the theme but also the verse i was supposed to share. The audience, to my great comfort, looked friendly and supportive, since i was the youngest in their midst. I shared the word as best as i could in the allocated time i had and i gave time for questions after i was done. One of the old folks looked at me and asked? Are you a pastor? We all laughed and i did likewise as a mean to avoid answering. Before we all stopped laughing, he straighten up on his sofa and said it once more, more seriously this time in another way: "have you gone to Bible school or did you do so theology or something like that?" and before i was able to mumble some form of answer he made the comment that led me to write this post: "by listening to you i have the impression that i know nothing about the Bible." At this comment the whole room exploded in laughter and some in the audience joined him by nodding their heads. The grand surprise i guess came when the cell host informed them that i was a Catholic.

Finally the evening ended well, and the question and answer session went beyond the chosen subject of the day for we discussed about Christian history and Biblical archeology as well as a brief commentary on studies in comparative religion.

On my way home, i kept remembering how i was so afraid and tense as i started due to the presence of old and educated folks. However the elderly man reaction made me think about the knowledge that he believed made his, looked insufficient. And that's where i started to acknowledge now by experience what i had always known theoretically; reading books from knowledgeable folks gives you wisdom and increases your puny knowledge. The only reason i made sense to my audience, wasn't based on my personal experience - which was way below theirs. It was based on other people experiences and mature thinking that i had access to through all these years of readings. I had just accumulated it and made it my own, and when the time was propitious with the Lord grace, I just gave them back what i had received during my readings years.

King David noticed something similar but in a different way. He remarked in Psalm 119:99 that: "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation." What gave him that kind of a edge is the fact that he read and meditated on the testimonies of those knowledgeable and inspired people who came before him. These testimonies are identified in verse 98 as being God's commandments or if you will, God's precepts, ordinances and Laws. Here is the question, "where did he get those testimonies?" The answer is, from those who came before him. He didn't write them. But read them! It came through ancient folks such as Moses and other writers of old. As he kept reading those readings as verse 98 informs us, he had overwhelming sources from which to draw his information and hence his knowledge.

If i can reflect from the life of Kind David and try to make an application for us young-adults, i think that as we read more documents related to specific topics, the more likely we are to be knowledgeable about them. This is common sense, right? So why don't we read then, especially since we know that we've got a lot of blind spot in our knowledge about certain topics that troubles us and from which we desperately need answers? You only can answer that! With Alain - a friend, we have been thinking about this issue of reading books since last year and we thought on trying to help people who knows that they need to read but have difficulty to start doing so. This post is my modest contribution to what i spoke with Alain and i hope that it might encourage a person or two, to start integrating in his/her daily and weekly schedule some time for book reading .

Next time, i'll tentatively write about "what type of books" and "how you could proceed when you want to read a book"! There might be numerous way of approaching this, but to make things simple I'll just share my way of doing it!

Until then ... take care and may the Lord be favorable to you in Christ' name!

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