The crop of new theological books for 2011 is huge. The problem is that the cool people seem to read each one while I’ve only caught up to 1987 (Emergent what?—the New Age is the most pressing issue facing the Christian Church!). The cool people also seem to read all the old books I still haven’t gotten around to—Augustine, Calvin, Aquinas, Baxter, Ryle. I feel woefully behind.
And that woe of mine sometimes keeps me from fully enjoying and profiting from what I’m reading. There’s a nagging thought at the back of my mind while I read (nagging a little more loudly than the one that reminds me to check my e-mail) that there is so much more to read if I want to be viewed as "up" on things. I feel hurried as I try to read the book in front of me. No time to process; gotta make another notch in the book belt!
But I have come to think recently that I simply must trust God’s organization of my schedule. Who can say why I pick up certain books and not others? I do have a general plan, but even that plan isn’t and can’t be very specific. Who knows when I’ll have time to read a given book? I might plan for it to be this year, but I have to admit, only “if the Lord wills will I read this or that” (Jas 4:15). Ultimately, God ordains when I’ll read certain books. He knows what influences I need and when. I have a responsibility to be diligent, to redeem the time, but I don’t have to read it all. A husband, father, and preacher like me can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t.
God orders my steps. He even gave me the reading speed and mental capacity I have. He didn’t give me someone else’s. Like one of the cool people’s, you know.