This summer I couldn’t wait for 2 of our 3 children to hear two famous people speak. One was Andy Andrews, a best selling author and speaker. The other was Michael W.Smith, a famous award winning singer/musician/writer. Both men are “overcomers”. Michael overcame a drug addition…Andy was homeless and living under a bridge. Their stories are incredible and encouraging for anyone to read or hear. Both men love Jesus and have committed the rest of their lives with their gifts to encourage and inspire others.
As I sit back and reflect on the details I have read about Andy, written by his own hand or spoken from his mouth personally, I can visibly trace God’s hand in his life. You can imagine that just knowing Andy was homeless and broke would mean he doesn’t really buy into many reasons people give for not being able to better themselves. I love how he began reading books, especially biographies.
It all started with a stranger he met who offered him biographies to read when he was living under a bridge–stories of Anne Frank, Will Rogers, and Winston Churchill. Two hundred biographies later…using the pubic library…Andy understood that he could be an “overcomer” too. As I personally trace Andy’s steps and his life, I marvel…at where he is today. I can’t help but think about the first thing Andy did…..He acted! He took a step. He credits reading biographies for placing him on the road to becoming an “overcomer”.
I love how he teaches, through his speaking and writing, this simple but powerful truth, “Remember young man, experience is not the best teacher. Other people’s experience is the best teacher. By reading about the lives of great people, you can unlock the secrets to what made them great.” I also like how he teaches that time is our greatest gift…and if we can learn from others, it saves our greatest gift, “time.”
Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. That is not uneven….and we all have choices to make on how we spend our time. I realize that most who are reading this blog are busy and have life issues, things to overcome, but so did the people who Andy learned from. We all can find reasons to choose NOT to do things…but Andy made the decision that if they could do it, he could too.
I have read all of Andy’s books. His books are full of wisdom and great advice….not just from his own experience, but also from applying what he has learned from others. Remember, he had to take the book and READ IT.
He had to choose to ACT!
Six years ago…..I took Andy’s and John Wooden’s advice and started reading. At that point, it opened a whole new world to me of how I could truly learn from others. I discovered that many people who write books desire to “leave behind what they have learned”. They desire to share their knowledge and encourage others.
It truly makes me think of God’s love for me and for you. He wants us to know how to live. I will always say and know it to be true…the Bible is the greatest book on planet earth. It is not only a written account of Jesus’ life on earth…but it is filled with wisdom, history and prophesy for us to absorb and learn from and live by. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. Psalm 12:6 tells us, “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
So, if you want to become a reader, gleaning from the lives and writings of others, I recommend the Bible as the very first book that you might choose to read. Every time I pick it up, even if I read the same story, it has new truth for me to learn. Most of the time, it is where I find myself that day…circumstances and emotions…and the same story has fresh insight for my day and life. Proverbs 22:20, “Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge.”
Second, I would encourage you to read good books…investigate authors. I have found that if I like an author and one of their books, I usually benefit from all the books they have written. Learning from others and their experience has been a great teacher and motivator for me. Many times it has been a “warm hug,” a “kick in the pants,” or “a pat on the back.” I read a statistic the other day that was interesting to me, “8 of 10 books that are sold are never read.”
Wow! The take away? If God leads you to buy a book…take the next step–Act and read it! The words held inside may be just the key you need to overcome an adversity or persevere through a difficult situation.
Proverbs 15:21-22, “Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead. Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”