Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Veritable Feast

Walk into my work office and you’re confronted with shelves of books. What’s on top of the shelves? More books? (see photo) Need to visit the restroom? You’ll find, you guessed it, books.

The same thing at home. Books piled beside our bed. Just ask Carol. When the pile gets too high she carries them down to my basement office where the majority of my volumes are stacked. Books everywhere!

So what’s my point? I’ll pick up a book when I’m going out for lunch for some spiritual nourishment. I’ll take one along if I’m anticipating a long line-up somewhere (like at Tim Horton’s).

Yes, there’s a veritable feast of good food in those books, a smorgasbord of rich truth…in most of them at least.

This morning I took along a book of 140 meditations by John Piper entitled “Taste and See” when I went up the street for coffee and toast.

I just “happened” to flip to a devotional entitled, “Thank God For Diaries, Journals, and Biographies”. Piper echoes my feelings precisely.

He writes, “Oh, the refreshing, liberating, exhilarating experience of living for several days with the saints in another century!” He goes on to write about David Brainerd’s expulsion from college over something he said in passing about one of the faculty who, according to Brainerd, “had no more grace than a chair.”

Brainerd never married, battled loneliness and depression and writes, “my heart sometimes was ready to sink with the thought of my work, and going alone into the wilderness. I knew not where.”

Looking back over his work with North American Indians, Brainerd writes, “I have little appearance of success to comfort me…I have taken many considerable journeys…and yet God has never suffered one of my bones to be broken…though I have often been exposed to cold and hunger in the wilderness…have frequently been lost in the woods…Blessed be God that has preserved me.”

Piper writes, “Why is David Brainerd so encouraging to me? Because God took this pain-wracked, moody, lonely, compulsive, struggling young lover of God and used him to lead several hundred Indians to eternal glory, to spark the founding of Princeton and Dartmouth colleges and to inflame two hundred years of missionaries with his radically dedicated four-year missionary life. William Carey had Brainerd’s “Life” with him in Indian; Henry Martyn in Persia; Robert M’Cheyne in Scotland; David Livingstone in Africa; and Jim Elliot in Ecuador. And I venture to say that none of this would have come about without his heartbreaking expulsion from college. Oh let us sing, brothers and sisters:

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.”

What encouragement I received as I picked up this treasure from my “veritable feast” of books this morning! What a challenge to give all to Him is spite of my misgivings, my lack of education, my shortcomings, my besetting sins!

And I would have missed these nuggets of truth had I not had a variety of books scattered around my work place.

What are you reading these days? Is the Word of God still # 1? Are you feasting on the riches of His grace?

What a veritable feast!


1. Piper’s book, Taste and See, is published by Multnomah Publishers (1999, 2005) and can be ordered at your local Christian bookstore. The 140 meditations are short yet insightful and challenging.

2. The “Life” that is refered to here is Jonathan Edwards’ “The Life of David Brainerd, The Works of Jonathan Edwards” vol. 7. Norman Pettit, ed., Yale University Press (1985)

3. The hymn quoted is “God Moves In A Mysterious Way” by William Cowper.

4. David Brainerd was only twenty-nine years old when God called him home. Robert Murray M’Cheyne was the same age when his life on earth ended.

1 comment:

  1. How you just love all your books David, and they surely are treasures!
    Your bookcases of books with everyone of them, put in so neatly look so nice!
    I don't know how you ever do it.
    I imagine that the books in the basement are all arranged nicely too!!!

    You are a wonder!
    Even though you are dedicated to your computer, you still take plenty of time with your books.

    Betty's children are the same way. Always have a nose in a book!
    I used to be reading all the time too.
    When I was in high school, I used to try and read at least one book a day.
    We used to have to list the books we read and I will never forget my English teacher holding up my sheet of all the books I had read and he got after some of the kids who couldn't even manage to read the four books required for the term.
    That made me feel pretty good David, because I was always the "nerd" that the kids made fun of.!!
    For once, I was getting a little credit. Ha!!

    The one name that you mentioned here that got my attention was "Robert Murray M'Cheyne. I didn't know that he had died so young.
    He wrote some good hymns.
    We sing them on Wednedsy night prayer meeting sometimes.Such beautiful hymns, written by him..

    "When this passing world is done,
    When has sunk yon glaring sun,
    When I stand with Christ on high
    Looking o'er life's history;
    Then, Lord shall I fully know,
    Not till then ,how much I owe.

    When I stand before the throne,
    Dressed in beauty, not mine own,
    When I see thee as thou art,
    Love thee with unsinning heart;
    Then, Lord shall I fully know.
    Not till then, how much I owe.

    When the praise of heaven I hear,
    Loud as thunders to the ear,
    Loud as many waters noise,
    Sweet as harp's melodious voice:
    Then, Lord shall I fully know.
    Not till then,how much I owe.

    Chosen, not for good in me,
    Wakened up for from wrath to flee,
    Hidden in the Saviour's side,
    By the Spirit sanctified;
    Teach me Lord,on earth to show,
    By my love,how much I owe".

    Thanks for such a good posting David!!....from Terry