Anybody who knows anything about anything has to put the hours in as Outliers will tell you.
I met a pal today for breakfast and we had a good old catch-up and laugh. There's nothing better than good friends. As we chatted, he asked how I manage to find time to read and listen to talks. Then he said 'I bet you are an old school pastor who studies until 11 everyday'. My Vicar's father-in-law, who is contentedly 'old-school' and a wise buzzard, told me it was a standard habit for Curate's and Vicar's alike in the Church of England to give themselves over to study and prayer for a good part of each day-usually the mornings.
Here's a question. What else are we supposed to be doing? Emails, powerpoint presentations, chatting on the mobile, rushing to meetings, spreadsheets, committees, administration and building projects. Eugene Peterson who I have written about before has written three books the summary of which is broadly-Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
Read the bible, pray and listen. And listen well.
Does that mean you don't do anything else? By no means. But if you fail to do these things the 'anything else' may end up being unfruitful, exhausting, works driven, worldly and over the long term pretty pointless. That's why I am increasingly wary of talk of the 'latest thing' (Then again, I may just be feeling grumpy today)
We had a fun time talking about John Stott over coffee and my pal had a few great stories of this wonderful man's habits. He did quite a bit of study you may not be surprised to learn. I was also reminded of Keller today and these talks with Edmond Clowny which revealed that for years every day he listened to a tape of a British preacher (Stott, Lloyd-Jones and Dick Lucas). One talk every day from eight to eight forty as he ran. Every day.
Golfers hit buckets of balls
Footballers practice free kicks
Musicians listen to great music
Great preachers have read and listened to (you guessed it)- great preachers.
Today I listened to a wonderful talk on grace . Truly masterful. You need to hear it. You do. If you can find a better one then do let me know. It is one of 244 .
Just imagine what might be if you listened to one of these for the next 244 days. Not that you will. But just imagine how saturated in God's word you might be. Just imagine what might happen to your heart. Just imagine how you might change. Now you won't I know because you're busy and have important things to do and achieve. Really busy in fact. Really really busy.
But just imagine though, for a moment, if just one person did (As Mark we learnt in 'An introduction ' did with MLJ and it transformed him and those around him).
For a second. Just imagine.