Reading While Relaxing

by Stephen F. Olford

Text: "Give attention to reading" (1 Tim. 4:13, nkjv).

Thought: What are you going to read on vacation? Or, perhaps, I ought to ask whether or not you plan to do some reading during your days of rest and relaxation. Vacation time for me is always an opportunity to catch up with a backlog of scheduled reading. It is quite amazing how soon we drift away from disciplined reading, once we have left school, college, or seminary, and in no time we become stale or stilted in our thinking and conversation. When Paul wrote to his young colleague Timothy he said, "Give attention to reading." His primary reference, of course, was to the reading aloud of Old Testament Scriptures. It was a practice carried into the Church Age from the order of worship in the Jewish synagogue; but it is quite obvious that the public reading of Scripture does not exhaust the challenge implicit in this exhortation.

Reading does not come naturally to many of us, so we have to give attention to it. Let me suggest three aspects of discipline to implement on your next vacation trip and as part of your regular lifestyle:

1. Be Decisive in your Reading-"Give attention to reading." This practice will not happen by chance; you have to decide on a time, a place, and a method. The Puritan master, John Trapp, used to say, "My best moments are in a nook with a book"-but this calls for decisiveness. Remember, "determination, not desire, controls our destiny."

2. Be Selective in your Reading-We know, of course, that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable" (2 Tim. 3:16), but even in the reading of the Word of God we can be too general and so lose concentration, comprehension, and most importantly, consecration.

3. Be Reflective in your Reading-"Give attention to reading.meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all" (1 Tim. 4:13, 15). Don't just read for reading's sake. To relate what you read to daily life you must be reflective; you must develop the divine art of meditation. Only then will your profiting appear to all. So enjoy your holiday, but remember: Give attention to reading.

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Thrust: Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;

Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.

William D. Longstaff