On August 17, 1760, John Wesley wrote a letter to a preacher named John Premboth. His words are critical for pastors to hear today.:
What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading.
I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety, there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian. Continue reading
I recently read a little book about creativity called Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. I loved it. In the book Kleon argues that no artist creates in a vacuum. All creative work is a work of taking other peoples work and making them better and your own. Every artist is influenced by others in ways that they don’t always realize.
I also loved the book because of the following quote:
Always be reading. Go to the library. There’s magic in being surrounded by books. Get lost in the stacks. Read bibiliographies. It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.
Collect books, even if you don’t plan on reading them right away. Nothing is more important than an unread library. (Pg 20)
Finally I have verification and encouragement for my ever-growing library. I really do believe it is important to keep feeding yourself and filling yourself through books. I think most people are more creative than they think they are they are just not being pushed in their thinking through reading.