For the past eleven years I have had the goal of reading 24 books a year (two books per month). In all but one of those years I surpassed my goal. I added it all up today, out of curiosity's sake, and here are the stats:
- 333 books in 11 years
- an average of 33 books per year
- an average of 2.75 books per month
Interestingly, this did not impress me. I felt no sense of pride or accomplishment. In fact, it caused me to wonder: Did reading those books make any difference? Did it change me for the better, have an impact on my life, or better yet, cause me to have an impact on others' lives? If not, then... so what?
For me, the real question is: Did I love people in those eleven years? Did I love my children? Did I love my husband? Did I love the lady at the till who was rude to me, the hurried driver who cut me off in traffic, the beggar in the street? Did I love my neighbour? Did I even (though we don't often like to mention this one) love myself?
"If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all... For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete... In this life we have three great lasting qualities—faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love." - excerpts from I Corinthians 13
I'm still going to keep my goal of reading 24 books a year (because quite frankly, I enjoy reading), but I also want to live with a sense of purpose and intentionality. I don't want to amass knowledge just for the sake of amassing knowledge. I want it to work towards achieving a greater purpose; I want it to help me fulfill my calling. In short, I want to love people better.