I believe there is a direct correlation. Church leaders were reading and growing and this, in turn, led to numerical and evangelistic growth for churches. Let's paraphrase Eker. "The effective read and grow. The apathetic think they already know."

A Call to Action

Luke gives us a glimpse at Jesus' childhood. His summary statement concerning Jesus' development is found in Luke 2:52; "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Notice the emphasis on "continual" growth and on balanced growth which included wisdom which would include the ability to apply knowledge. Earlier we are given a glimpse of Jesus' growing hunger for a greater understanding of the Scriptures as we find Him in the temple listening and asking questions of the teachers (Luke 2:46).

Verse 47 says, "And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers." At some point during the day the tables turned and the wised scholars began to ask questions of Jesus, who demonstrated an amazing understanding of God's Word. What had been the source of such great knowledge? Remember: The incarnation means that the boy Jesus was fully man (as well as fully God). No doubt Jesus' parents had taught Him the Scriptures from infancy, developing in Him the desire to "keep increasing" in wisdom.

Later, when Jesus was asked by a lawyer concerning the great commandment, He responded; "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). I hear more emphasis on loving God with all your heart and soul than I do loving God with all your mind.

This is a call to action. Let's love God with all our mind. Such a commitment would require that we renew our commitment to reading God's Word and supplementing that with other good biblical materials that call us to action. If you struggle with reading, get help -- for the glory of the King and the sake of the Kingdom. You can also buy or borrow good books on tape. Additionally, we should renew our commitment to Scripture memory.

Effective Christians read and grow.

Kenneth S. Hemphill is the SBC's national strategist for Empowering Kingdom Growth.
© Copyright 2008 Baptist Press. Used with permission.