Redeeming the Time by Reading

Bryan CribbBryan Cribb, Leadership

Can you believe it has already been multiple weeks since this Coronavirus crisis hit full steam? These last weeks have introduced to us numerous “new normals”—face masks, Zoom, “stay at home” orders, oddly crowded grocery stores, online worship services, and really cheap gas. My prayer is that most of these norms won’t stay normal for long—except maybe for the cheap gas!

But one of those “new normals” for many of us is more discretionary time—time gained from not having to travel to work, not having to leave the house on errands, or not having to attend school and events. What should we do with this new normal, this extra time?

Well, first, realize that your schedule will always fill up. The question is: How will you fill it? Many good options exist—whether that’s spending more time with family or working more in the yard or checking in on those in need.

Let me give you one other suggestion on how to fill your time profitably: read some good books. Of course, the next question is: What should we read? Let me give you a few suggestions to read in the next few weeks of quarantine.

First, you can’t go wrong with Christian biographies. My favorite Christian biography of all time is To the Golden Shore (a biography of the first Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson) by Elizabeth Anderson. Some other suggestions include: Unbroken (a biography of WWII hero and Olympian Louis Zamperini) by Laura Hillenbrand; John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken; A Chance to Die: the Live and Legacy of Amy Carmichael or Through Gates of Splendor, both by Elisabeth Elliot; Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton; and of course, St. Augustine’s autobiographical Confessions.

Or, you could tackle some of the classics of Christian thought—books like C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, J. I. Packer’s Knowing God, John Stott’s The Cross of Christ, Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Finally, you could also read some books that will enrich your devotional life—books like Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, A. W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ, and Jerry Bridges’s The Discipline of Grace. Of course, you could also pick up the new book by two crusty Anderson University Bible professors, Channing Crisler and Bryan Cribb, called The Bible Toolbox!

Regardless, take this time to read—and to develop reading as a spiritual discipline. And as always, consider your time as a gift. Steward it well. And make reading quality books your “new normal.”