Read Ecclesiastes 12:11-12
11 The words of the wise are like cattle prods-painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
12 But,my child,let me give you some further advice: Be careful,for writing books is endless,and much study wears you out. (NLT)
It is a bittersweet experience to dispose of books. To get rid of books that once lit up your life,that once prompted you to rediscover the essence of following Jesus. Then again,it is easier to throw out the books that promised much but delivered little. A reminder that you can’t always trust the publisher’s blurb. A reminder,too,that books in and of themselves can’t change your life.
The passage today reminds us that wise words,written or spoken,can be helpful. But there is such a thing as information overload. So many books have been written on prayer,evangelism,the nature of Jesus,sex,money,church life. Lots of wisdom in them as well as some more dubious advice. No doubt some of the wisdom has seeped into us and helped us along the way.
But we dare not fall into the trap of believing that reading one more book on prayer will do the trick; that hearing one more sermon on discipleship will make us mature. The most a book or a talk can do is help us along the way. We need the Spirit of God to help us apply what these books and these speakers have told us. We rarely need more information. We need more application of the information we already know.