Read or Get Out of the Ministry

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. —Proverbs 1:5

When a very young minister, I asked the famous holiness preacher, Joseph H. Smith, whether he would recommend that I read widely in the secular field. He replied, “Young man, a bee can find nectar in the weed as well as in the flower.” I took his advice (or, to be frank, I sought confirmation of my own instincts rather than advice) and I am not sorry that I did. John Wesley told the young ministers of the Wesleyan Societies to read or get out of the ministry, and he himself read science and history with a book propped against his saddle pommel as he rode from one engagement to another. Andy Dolbow, the American Indian preacher of considerable note, was a man of little education, but I once heard him exhort his hearers to improve their minds for the honor of God. “When you are chopping wood,” he explained, “and you have a dull ax you must work all the harder to cut the log. A sharp ax makes easy work. So sharpen your ax all you can.”    SIZ033

In the busyness of life, Lord, help me to always guard time to sharpen my ax. Amen.

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