Some people feel the need to finish every book they start. I do not. I will start and not finish a book if it’s poorly written. I’ll also stop reading it if it just does not click with me for any reason. If I’m not hooked by 50 pages, I’m on to the next book. There are too many books in the world for any one person to read in a lifetime. Why waste my time when there are so many other available options?
Sometimes I actually get frustrated trying to decide how to best spend my reading time. It bugs me I can’t ever get to all the books I want to read. I feel like I’m missing out on information and inspiration key for my life.
More Books than Space
Some people have more books than the space in which to keep them in an organized fashion. The advent of electronic books has helped that situation considerably though.
Thinking of this reminds me of a particular comment the disciple John makes a couple of times.
“And I suppose that if all the other things Jesus did were written down, the whole world could not contain the books.” (John 21:25)
Jesus did so much during his three-year ministry the world could not contain a written account of all of it. So, all the books in the world together pale in comparison to what would be a complete written account of Jesus’ ministry. For a bibliophile like me, that’s an amazing fact to try and grasp.
We Have Enough
I wonder what else would be recorded if electronic books were available in Jesus’ day. Would we just get more examples supporting what we already know? Are we missing out because we don’t know all Jesus did? Or, would having all that written down be so much information that reading it all would be a burden, kind of like reading all the books in the Library of Congress?
We can’t definitively answer these questions. However, we can know for certain that what we do have written down in the Bible is enough. We can be certain that what we’re given in the Bible provides exactly what we need.
“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)
We can also realize that even though our knowledge remains incomplete this side of Heaven, one day our knowledge will be complete.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away, but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will fully know just as I also have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:9-12)
How many people actually witnessed much of what Jesus did — both what was written down and what wasn’t — and still failed to believe he was who he said he was? They teach us that belief doesn’t come with knowing everything.
Comfort in Knowing
These Scripture comfort those of us who like to know lots of stuff. They help those who like to understand the why and what and feel frustrated when we can’t. We can instead turn our efforts toward what to do with what we do know. We don’t have to try and wish away our circumstances and remain frustrated trying to understand what we don’t know.
Frodo: “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
(Fellowship of the Ring)
We can’t do much with what we don’t know, though it can consume us if we let it. We can, however, determine what to do with what we do know.
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)