The offices at our church were damaged by water coming through the flat roof last spring. When the leak was spotted, my kids and I were able to remove my pastor’s library (over 1,200 books) to another room in under 20 minutes! Thankfully only a couple were damaged by water. The rooms are now ready for occupancy again — nicely painted, with brand new, tile floors. And it’s time to move all those books back in. Of course, they need to be reorganized (so they can be found as needed), and shelved appropriately. So far, I have several hours invested in this process! But it is, for me, a labor of love.
These dear books, accumulated over 20+ years since seminary days, stand alongside the Word of God as the “tools” of a preacher’s trade. Dr George Grant writes in a similar vein about the great prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, of the last century….
But in the midst of the busyness of his life and ministry, he always found time to read. Books were his most constant companions and bookstores were his most regular haunts. He was born in the little Essex village of Kelvedon in 1834. Both his father and grandfather were pastors and so he was raised around books, reading, and piety. As a youngster, he began a life long habit of diligent and unending reading—typically he read six books per week, and was able to remember what he had read and where he had read it many years later. He particularly loved old books. He claimed in his autobiography that before he was ten years old, he preferred to go into his grandfather’s study and pull down an old Puritan classic and read rather than go outside and play with friends.
…In time, his personal library numbered more than twelve thousand volumes.
The books were all shelved in Spurgeon’s study at Westwood, his family home. Of course, Spurgeon was not merely a collector. He was utilitarian, if anything. He viewed his books as the tools of his trade. And the shops where he found them were essentially his hardware stores. As a result, the books were used. They were hardly museum pieces, despite their scarcity or value. They were the natural extensions of his work and ministry. He once wrote, “My books are my tools. They also serve as my counsel, my consolation, and my comfort. They are my source of wisdom and the font of my education. They are my friends and my delights. They are my surety, when all else is awry, that I have set my confidence in the substantial things of truth and right.”
Thankful for the privilege of studying and preaching the Word,