Read Ecclesiastes 12:11-14
11 The words of the wise prod us to live well.
They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.
They are given by God, the one Shepherd.
12-13 But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:
Do what he tells you.
14 And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil. (THE MESSAGE)
I am regularly asked if I had read any new books lately, or attended any conferences recently. The usual answer is in the negative. This is not to say books and conferences and podcasts can’t be very helpful. Some of these have been life-changing for me.
But there comes a time when you realise that you don’t need yet another book on prayer or a conference on church leadership. You need to live out and apply what you already know. Our problems in following Jesus come not so much from lack of information, but failure to apply what information we have to the life situation facing us.
While many find great benefit from the latest book or speaker, such books and speakers rarely say anything brand new. The benefit comes from how they say it, and of course some who hear and read may not have heard this ‘old’ teaching before. It is rare to suddenly discover some hidden gem of truth that has been hidden from the church for centuries.
I think I know enough about prayer and forgiveness and witness and sundry other things in order to better practise them. I lack the discipline and the will and the memory of what I already know. A new book may help me remember an old truth; a new speaker may inspire me to apply an old truth. They may not tell me something I don’t already know, but they may bring it to the forefront of my mind and will so that everything old becomes new again.