Since October I’ve been reading a book series called Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan. He’s actually an Australian and theeleven-book series have become a world bestseller. Josh read them years ago, when John Flanagan was still writing the series, and Nomi picked them up earlier this year. I’d been meaning to read them for a few years but had always had other books on the go. Until that is, a friend who used to live up here came up to visit, and threw a Ranger’s Apprentice Party. The pressure was on! I only managed to read a few chapters of the first book before the party but I managed OK!
Anyway, since then, I’ve nearly finished five of the books and loved them. Although they are very easy reading and wouldn’t want my entire reading repertoire to live at that standard, they’ve been fun and exciting stories. And although they are my ‘recreational books’, they’ve prompted me to improve in three areas:
Excelling in [insert hobby or task here]. In Ranger’s Apprentice, the Rangers are all uncanny archers with beyond-belief accuracy. For them to get brilliant at the bow and arrow though, they have to give it practice. Lots and lots of practice! Ever since I met Susan Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia, I’ve loved archery, so I perked up when I learnt about the Ranger’s skill. I’d love to be able to shoot an arrow full stop, let alone as well as Will or Halt could. Sadly, I haven’t had very many opportunities to unleash my archer ambitions yet, but I realised something else. I mightn’t be a breath-taking shot, but I can practice to become a good seamstress. A competent pianist. I can work at becoming a decisive public speaker, a proficient writer, and a lightning-fast kitchen-cleaner. Whatever it might be, I can be intentional about giving it 100% and working hard to get better at my jobs and hobbies.
Holding back my tongue. Rangers like to hold all the cards. Rangers have to be ingenious, witty and resourceful. They keep their eyes and ears open and their mouths shut until just the right moment. There is a fine line between showing prudence and biding time – like the Rangers were -, and being plain nosey and poking into other people’s business – like we often tend to be – but it has reminded me to pay attention to the Proverbs which are constantly warning us not to just say whatever comes to my mind and ‘pour forth knowledge’. Solomon wrote that if ‘even a fool keeps his mouth shut he will be considered wise’, and Paul exhorted the Ephesians to ‘let no corrupt words come out of your mouths, but only that will benefit those who listen’.
Taking God’s word seriously. This is kind of related to my second lesson. What would happen if I read God’s word… and just obeyed it? Sometimes we don’t listen to the Bible until we see it in action, and although there is nothing wrong with that (Paul wrote, ‘imitate me, like I imitate Christ’) we also need to step up, take responsibility and obey God’s word out of faith.
What lessons have you learnt from the books you’ve read lately? 🙂