This week I was having a discussion in my class about the importance of reading. We talked about an article we had read in which the author mentioned that slaves were not allowed to learn to read. Their owners did not want them to be educated for fear they would cast off the shackles of slavery. George Washington Carver served as an inspiration in his desire to learn, and Dr. Ben Carson's story of how his life was turned around when his mother started making he and his brother read was a part of the discussion that day.
I then asked how many of my students planned to do some reading this summer, and only about half raised their hands. I then gave them the following hypothetical situation.
Me: Let's say I am a registered gun owner and I am sitting at home with a gun on the table beside me. I know how to use it. It's right beside me. Suddenly, a bad guy comes in my door to take me captive (because we all know there is a HUGE demand for little old ladies.) He takes me out the door and I am now his prisoner. The end.
Kids: That's stupid!
Kids: Cause you have a weapon right there beside you. Pick it up and use it!
Me: Exactly...well, ignorance is at the door and it wants to take you captive and you have books sitting right there beside you. PICK THEM UP AND READ!!!!
I came home pretty proud of that illustration. I even had one student tell me the next day that I had convinced him. He had picked out a book to read this summer! Yep, I was really feeling good about that "Boo-ya! Score!" moment.
Then, I started to think about my own life. I already have a book picked out to read this summer dealing with teaching, but it's a different book that is calling me to open it and read. This is the one book that is written by the Author that truly loves the reader. It is, of course, the Bible.
Oh, I've read the Bible for years, but this summer I'm hoping to do something I've never really done before...read it like I would a novel - straight through. I found an inexpensive chronological Bible with margins big enough for notes and I'm going to read, simply read. I may even try to read it twice!
The thing is, this book can do so much more than hold ignorance at bay. It can do more toward setting the captive free than any ordinary book can possibly hope to do. This book is more than just words; it is life.
I'm actually looking forward to doing nothing this summer except a little cleaning and exercising and a lot of reading. I expect I will be different by summer's end, simply because I picked up the greatest "weapon" ever devised - a love letter from the Creator of the universe to His creation.
How about it? Want to see what happens when we actually fight back by using the "weapon" lying right beside us on the table? I have a feeling if we do, it will be a summer that we, and our enemy, will never forget.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (MSG)
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.