I haven’t always loved to read. Somewhere deep inside of me, I longed to be a reader but I never had the discipline to do it. It wasn’t until college that I took up the passion of reading. I had a college friend whose bookshelves were lined with old books, titles I had never heard of and dusty journals where she had scribed away all of her life victories and struggles.
I admired this friend so I decided to borrow a book. The title was Tuesdays with Morrie and I remember it well. I cried as I read some of the chapters that highlighted how short our lives are and how death can come knocking when none of us are ready to let go. I was a young college student but already my life had been touched by the grievance of death. Soon, I realized that I had never enjoyed reading because I was reading the wrong stuff. A college girl who I happened to look up to, lead me to become a reader.
Leaders are readers.
In 2015, God moved me to a small apartment with four kids to a city where I knew no one. As I lay on my cheap carpeted 2nd-floor apartment, I cried out to God for a friend. He gave me one but like most times, it wasn’t what I expected. I called my Mammaw a few days after the move and I asked what she was doing. She told me that she was on her 2nd time of reading the Bible cover to cover. She read five chapters a day until she was done. Therefore, I asked to be a part of her challenge. I mean how hard could it be, right?
I soon learned that some of the chapters in the Bible are extremely long, but because I had made a promise to my Mammaw and myself, I continued to read five chapters a day. My Mammaw led me to read the one true book that could truly change my life. That year, God gave me a friend that I never expected during a season of my life that felt very barren and alone. He gave me a friend in Him and it was through His word that I was able to say, I would never be lonely again.
Leaders are readers.
Five years later, I have realized the impact of daily reading like never before. I have read the Bible from beginning to end several times as well as books that help me to better understand His word. I don’t tell you this to brag on myself. But I tell you this because it changed my life.
I never knew the power of reading God’s word until I truly established the discipline to read it daily. Before I would only snack on scripture as if it were an appetizer, taking in only parts my Bible app would feed me or the daily devotional that I was reading. These aren’t bad, but there is MORE. God has so much more than a verse a day. He has a whole book that you can read over and over for the rest of your life without you ever growing bored. Because each time you read it, He uses it to bring new life into your spirit and you see how alive His written Word can be.
He will also use readers to become leaders.
Too many times (especially around January) we build goals for ourselves. Lofty dreams that place us in our desires and often these desires are good. They consist of changing a need we see, building others up and rejuvenating ourselves and others in our community. Goals that change us and those around us. But too many times, we forget that in order to become a leader, we must be a reader.
God’s written word is a manuscript of how to change a group of people, a city and even a country. God’s written word is instruction for how to become something great while eliminating the things that tend to throw us off of our course, such as pride and envy. The Bible sustains us when our ideas aren’t going as planned and our goals seem too lofty for our own strength. His word provides us encouragement when we need help to keep persevering.
Readers also produce leaders.
The thing about people who read God’s word, is they don’t have to perform to produce. They just do. God’s word flows through them and because of this supernatural effect, people gravitate toward them and leave better than they came.
My grandma wasn’t trying to promote her good deeds when she told me she was reading the Bible from beginning to end. She was simply sharing the fruit of her labor. She was sharing how it had changed her life and she wanted that for me.
Readers make great leaders. Naturally.
One year ago I began a Women’s Bible Study in my home. I heard God ask me to open my home to women of all churches, all backgrounds, and all theologies and read the Word of God together. He gave me two words to get started… Bible + Brunch. And so it began, me and four other women on my couch.
Each month, we would gather and watch God bring new women to a house they’d never been to. Sometimes there would be connections in the room that I could have never orchestrated on my own. Other times, it would be complete strangers and I would often wonder how they ended up at my home. But what I noticed quickly, was how hard it must have been to come into someone else’s home who you’ve never met and agree to study the Bible from someone you don’t know. It had to be a pang of hunger. A hunger for God’s word.
It has been my effort over the last year as almost 40 women have come and shared their hunger for the Lord in my home that they would leave as readers and leaders. Readers first and leaders by nature. If we develop the discipline of reading God’s Word, our ability to lead will follow naturally.
Because readers are good leaders. And our country needs them. Now more than ever.
How can a young man stay pure? By reading your Word and following its rules. 10 I have tried my best to find you—don’t let me wander off from your instructions. 11 I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.
12 Blessed Lord, teach me your rules. 13 I have recited your laws 14 and rejoiced in them more than in riches. 15 I will meditate upon them and give them my full respect. 16 I will delight in them and not forget them.
17 Bless me with life[c] so that I can continue to obey you. 18 Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word. 19 I am but a pilgrim here on earth: how I need a map—and your commands are my chart and guide. 20 I long for your instructions more than I can tell. ~ Psalm 119: 9-20