Africans hate reading. This is a common phrase to many and especially in this century. There is a common joke that if you want to hide precious items from Africans, you hide it in the books and for sure, they will not find it.
Few days ago, I came through a quote about books that left me ashamed of myself. Interestingly, it was well printed on one’s T-shirt and addressed to me directly. I can’t help thinking about it in the last few days. The quote was none other than;
It is bad manners to have more clothes than books!
I give no apology if this makes you ashamed as I became. Don’t worry, All is not lost. We have time to enrich ourselves by reading more books that will not only add to our knowledge but also will nourish us spiritually and help us in having rich and solid foundation in our faith in Jesus.
Actually, it is good to note that the anti-reading habit is slowly invading our society in that there are many people who rarely even read through large texts with more than 200 words. Most people only skim through the message or the article to get the feel of what the sender says.
Worse is that among many people who do not read are the Christians and believers. Actually, some staunch Christians think that reading is a waste of time. The only thing they want is to sit back, relax and enjoy their salvation, without necessarily reading the Bible, its commentaries, expositions among other helpful Christian literature.
It’s sad that most Christians do not read at all. Some Christians, far away from reading several verses of the Bible, they do not read anything else. They say that the Bible has answers to every question, which in deed is true, but they barely finish a chapter far away with a single book in the Bible. They thus end up grappling with thousands of unanswered life questions.
Few days ago, I was stunned during an exposition during iServe Africa Training Ministry Course when our Expositor of 2 Timothy read Chapter 4 and verse 13, where Paul pleads with Paul to do something to him…
“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. (2 Tim. 4:13)”
Think of this, a man in prison and yet he asks for Books! What for?
Charles Spurgeon, a renowned Baptist preacher commented on this by saying that “…even an Apostle must read!”
Charles adds the following about Paul the Apostle and of him asking for books:
“He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!”
What a great thing to hear of Paul. In fact, as Justin Taylor notes on his reflection about the verse is that what Paul exactly tells Timothy here is this:
“Give thyself unto reading.”
The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.
The challenge for us today is that we need to read. We need to join Paul in his plead with Timothy “Bring more books!”
As Gordon MacDonald puts it in his book “Ordering your Private world” there is book that has never been read and only has been used for other purposes! Let’s join the list of great brains in the country who read. Gather more knowledge from reading Christian literature.
As author John Ng’ang’a puts it, we need to read even newspapers. He says “A good preacher holds the Bible on one hand and a newspaper on the other hand!” How will this help? It will help the preacher to be updated of what is happening in the country and in the world so that he or she can pray and preach accordingly.
I am yet not there too but am working towards it. The last few days have been the best for me as I dig deeper and deeper in books. The experience I get in reading the books is indescribable.
Join me in this, let’s Read, and Read, and Read.
Article By Kenneth Irungu
iServe Africa Apprentice 2015/16