The Dancing Puritan

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Purposeful Reading

Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Psalm 119:33
King David was a man in pursuit of knowledge. However, his passion for knowledge was not that he might write books, give lectures, and be regarded as an expert on truth; He desired knowledge that he might follow God. Knowledge is vital but knowledge that is not implemented does not produce change. 

Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great puts it like this:
Indeed, we found no evidence that the good-to-great companies had more or better information than the comparison companies. None. Both sets of companies had virtually identical access to good information. The key, then lies not in better information, but in turning information into information that cannot be ignored. (79).
I agree with Collins that information alone is insufficient for one who is seeking to grow. Information must be put into practice, if there is to be life-change. That being said, information is foundational. If one does not have the right information then they will not have the tools for implementation. Collins would agree that there can be no implementation without information and information without implementation serves no great purpose. 

In Psalm 119:11, David wrote: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Why did he store up God's word in his heart? God's word was his strategic means of doing the right thing. He was not content just to deposit God's word in his heart so that he might boast of having knowledge. No! David stored up the word that he might put the word into practice. He could not practice what he did not know and he had no interest in knowing what he had no plan of practicing.

The way to read is to read purposefully. One of the things that I love about Tim Sander's book, Love is the Killer App, is that he is invested in purposeful knowledge. In the book he recounts a story of a work associate who wanted and needed to change. Sanders writes: "He admitted that he'd been repeatedly taken off projects, and he now realized that his peers disliked him." Tim offered his friend some excellent counsel:
Be a lovecat. And that means: Offer your wisdom freely. Give away your address book to everyone who wants it. And always be human. I then told him about the advantages of being a lovecat, and the three necessary steps to getting there: sharing your knowledge, sharing your network, sharing your compassion. (2-3).
The first thing that Sanders did was to help his friend "organize his reading." He writes:
 Just as the reason we own things is to share them with others, the reason we acquire knowledge is to share it. Otherwise, we don't truly distribute love. . . .Too many people internalize their new information, turning it into private wisdom that cools in their intellectual cellar. Their wisdom gains no distribution. . . . The best part of sharing knowledge: The more you apply it, the more you get in return. (91-92).
Knowledge is to be internalized, practiced, and distributed to others. To have knowledge and not practice it is foolish. To have knowledge, practice it, and pass it on to others (humbly, of course) is a great act of love. Love always involves investing in the ultimate well being of others. 

Next time I will share with you a way to read purposefully that involves just four pages of reading per day. This purposeful reading can change your life and make a difference in your friends.  

Ray Rhodes, Jr. is president of Nourished in the Word Ministries. He is an author, pastor, and conference speaker. He enjoys time with his wife Lori (27 years) and his children and grandchildren. To schedule Ray to speak to your group send him a message here: Message Ray