I can’t help but feel overwhelmed when I step into a bookstore. My infatuation compels me to skim every shelf and scan every title until I’ve found the perfect reads.
I love books. But not every book. One reason why bookstores overwhelm me is because they require an immense amount of filtering. It’s nearly impossible to find healthy, wholesome books on today’s Young Adult shelves. And when there’s nothing spiritually rich to read, young people settle for the poor, weak, and often destructive.
That is, if young people read at all.
Today’s technology-bloated culture seriously threatens the “archaic” pastime of cracking open a good book. I can testify that extended periods of screen time shrink my attention span to the size of a book page. The Internet offers such a vast variety of instant pleasures, why bother turning page after page in one piece of literature?
Why venture beyond the flashy and alluring titles of today’s Young Adult market?
Why read harder, better books?
Here are four reasons:
- Better Books Stretch Us Mentally and Spiritually
Our culture feeds the lie that young people can’t do hard things; that we can’t roll up our sleeves and bury our hands into the sweaty work of holiness. The truth is that—with the help of the Spirit— we’re more than capable.
Young people possess the time, energy, and intelligence to surpass low expectations by stretching ourselves. Reading rich literature is one way of doing this. We can glorify God by setting down the books that only feed our flesh and taking up tools that will nourish our minds and souls.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).
- Better Books Redeem Our Time
I don’t need to reiterate the truth that Instagram, Netflix, and YouTube can waste massive amounts of our hours, weeks, and months. But what can we do about it?
Formulate a better habit. A habit like reading.
However, it isn’t always enough to snatch a catchy title from the bestseller shelf. Finding better books takes time and research. In the end, though, better books redeem our time for God’s purposes.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16).
- Better Books Invest in Our Future
In Matthew 25, Jesus crafted a story to help his followers better grasp the kingdom of heaven. “It will be like a man going on a journey,” Jesus said. This man called his servants together and entrusted each one with a certain amount of money “according to his ability.” Then the property owner departed.
Each servant now faced a choice. Each servant had a specific number of days to use his money. And each servant set to work, striving to make the most of his entrusted talents.
That is, all except one.
One servant was a coward. “I knew you to be a hard man,” he told his Master when he had returned, “so I was afraid, and I hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours” (see Matt. 25:14-30).
This man was deservedly punished. He had abused the time and money entrusted to him instead of investing it for future benefit. He had been wasteful. And his story should peel back the blinders for us.
Our days are numbered. “Man does not know his time” (Ecc. 9:12). We are entrusted with much, that we may invest much. Our minds were created to be filled and used with intelligence that brings glory to God. Let us invest our lives by drinking up what is true, right, and good with the gifts and time we’ve been given.
Let us invest our lives by drinking up what is true, right, and good with the gifts and time we’ve been given.
Let us read books that benefit our futures for the sake of Christ.
- The Best Book Draws Us Closer to God
When it comes to books, I’m a firm believer in variety. From novels, to biographies, to stories, to articles, to classics, exploring genres is a beautiful thing. But I must always return to the best Book..
The Bible is unarguably the most brilliant volume of literature. After all, its words were breathed by the Author of life. While there are libraries brimming with theologically rich volumes, it would be fruitless to devour these works while neglecting Scripture.
Reading the best Book of all is what will ultimately stretch us, grow us, redeem our time, and benefit our future for eternity.
In the words of Charles Spurgeon: “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”