In his book A Mind for God (IVP), James Emery White writes: “A monk in Normandy penned these words in 1170: ‘A monastery without a library [sine armario] is like a castle without an armory [sine armamentario]. Our library is our armory.’ This was certainly the conviction of the apostle Paul, who even from his prison cell in Rome implored Timothy to be sure to bring him his books (2 Timothy 4:13).

“The critical importance of reading reminds me of something I read long ago–so long that the author now escapes me. It was a lament for a book never read. The loss of pages never turned, covers never opened, words never seen.

“A single book can deepen your understanding, expand your vision, sensitize your spirit, deepen your soul, ignite your imagination, stir your passions, and widen your wisdom. There truly can be mourning for a book that is never read–mourning for the loss of what our lives could have held, and could have accomplished.

“Yet how can we become active readers in the midst of the frantic pace of our lives? It is tempting to view the act of sitting down with a book–much less many books–as a luxury, afforded those with unique schedules or privileged positions in life. In truth, it’s available to us all. It’s simply a matter of choice. One choice in particular.

“I once heard Jim Collins, known to many as the author of bestselling business titles, comment that we do not need to make more ‘to do’ lists, but rather a few ‘stop-doing’ lists. I know that in my life, the great opposition to reading is what I allow to fill my time instead of reading. To say we have no time to read is not really true; we simply have chosen to use our time for other things, or have allowed our time to be filled to the exclusion of reading.

“So don’t add reading to your to-do list. Just stop doing the things that keep you from doing it. But read.”

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