How’s That Workin’ For Ya?

I think I’ve found a new ministry.

But I don’t fly on planes often enough to put it into practice.

On my Tuesday flight from Dallas to L.A., I happened to be seated close to Victor and Evelyn Knowles as well as Dwight and Charme Robarts – all guest presenters at the Pepperdine Lectures where I was headed.

I also happened to be sitting by a sweet young lady who was reading one of Dr. Phil’s books. I don’t know which one; I’m not familiar with ’em. From what I could read on the back cover you could have titled it Be Your Best You.

Well, back up. She was trying to read one of Dr. Phil’s books. She would read a few paragraphs, then fall asleep. This happened three or four times, and one time when she awakened she saw that I was about three-quarters of the way through an excellent book, Rumours of Another World by another Phil, last name Yancey. She asked to read the back cover and how I liked it.

I was really liking it. It’s all about those little hints and evidences in the world around us that God is real, and is behind it all: the complexity of the human body … our innate sense of right and wrong … the motivation of Jesus Christ. I told her so. She smiled, and said it sounded interesting.

I finished the book just as the plane touched down. I really liked it. It was one of those books that I just knew I would read over and over.

But then I surprised myself.

I closed the book and said, “I really enjoyed this book.” Then I handed it to her. “And I hope you do too.”

She thanked me several times, and seemed genuinely grateful.

I told her “You can’t keep a good book to yourself.”

I had resisted the urge to ask her, Dr. Phil-style, if her book was working for her; obviously it wasn’t. Maybe the other Phil’s book will.

Okay, it’s not much of a ministry. I don’t even know if she’ll read the book. She might, and it might not touch her heart at all. Don’t complain to me that I didn’t preach the gospel to her right there in front of several better-qualified witnesses. There’s only so much you can communicate while a plane is waiting to taxi into a gate, even at Dallas-Ft. Worth.

So I asked her what put her on a plane and she told me about her sister’s upcoming wedding and I surprised myself again by being genuinely interested rather than pretending I was interested, because she had been gracious enough to accept my gift. And we chatted until we deplaned; crossed paths at the airport a couple more times before my Thrifty Rental van picked me up … and we’ll probably never see each other again this side of heaven.

But Who knows?

As I said, I think I’ve discovered a new ministry. But I don’t fly on planes often enough to put it into practice. Maybe if you fly on planes or ride buses and trains or sit in waiting rooms and coffee shops more than I do, you could.

Just give someone a book that you love, then tell ’em why God inspires you through it.

Then tell ’em you have a friend named Keith who says “You can’t keep a good book to yourself.”

And, if you do … drop me an e-mail and let me know how it’s workin’ for ya.

10 thoughts on “How’s That Workin’ For Ya?

  1. Great ideal….I am so selfish with my books, because I know I will read them again….I think that may be a form of pride…so I better get rid of it…

  2. I just wrote a long comment about all the books I’ve given away over the years, including many Bibles and New Testaments. But Blogger ate my comment, never to be seen again.So – just a synopsis. Keep up the good work. With all your books with all people in all places. I’ve now given away probably (at least) 95% of my books, the last batch to a small church for its library.You cannot outgive God, though, you know? You may never know what good your give may bring, but our task is not to repay kindnesses, but to pass them on.So, keep up the good work. Yes – keep it up. You can buy more books to read. Then give them away, too, and buy more!Those are my thoughts this afternoon. For what they’re worth . . .

  3. I have to admit, with Yancey being possibly my favorite Christian writer, I would have trouble giving up one of his. But that’s a great idea. I’ve been getting rid of books by selling them on ebay in the last couple of years, because I’ve accumulated far too many. Maybe I should give ebay a rest…

  4. Keith – Congrats on the award! How fitting. Eric has a copy of “The Classics” for you to put on the Zoe website. Thanks so much!

  5. I’ve been thinking about how we’re all great Christians in times of crisis, but it’s the day-to-day Christianity that kills us. What a great ministry to be a giver – of your book & of yourself – during your everyday life.

  6. There is something out in the world like that.When you finish a book you like you leave a note and leave somewhere for someone to find they read it and so on. It’s a great idea. I just don’t know much aboutit.

  7. I come from a long line of folks who LOVE books. One ancestor used to keep them at a nearby neighbor’s house so his wife wouldn’t get ticked “what another one?”.We have several used bookstores nearby that stock everything from heaven sent to hell bound. Interestingly I got started in the book ministry in the clearance section of one of ’em. My theory this particular bookseller disdains Christianity & so they mark them down quick & voila! The Lord has used even His enemies to send forth His word. At a buck apiece.I started buying the books and the supply in the house kept getting bigger (the wife didn’t notice as we have a huge bookcase & she’s a book lover to so it’s okay as long as enough food is on the table). Mark that the stream of folks I was giving away to who stopped by the house was smaller than the stream of books growing on the shelves. One day I was talking with a friend who counsels people at a local food bank. He said, “you know I can pray with those who come for food but it is rare to see them again. I wish I had some way to bless them further”. So the overflow at that level found release. It’s great that the Father is using my counselor friend as just one of a stream of people to love that food seeker closer and closer to Him (Living Proof video series stuff).So with a stock of books (that all point heavenward) in a nearby cabinet he can give counselees encouragement and a direction (with a book).He now has books for quick grab to folks, separated by prayer, promises, marriage, testimonies, raising kids, kids golden books & etc. At a dollar a book, I am looking forward to seeing all the lives that will be kindled using books.Apologies on the lengthy comment, but this has been so much fun and an honor to be a channel of blessing through the delightful medium of books.Bill E (a double l)

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