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Books that give both pleasure on Monday and ideas on Sunday.

A new acquaintance asked me once what my hobbies were. I told him I read. "Read?" he replied. "That's something pastors do for their job. I mean, what do you do for recreation?"

Not all my reading is recreational, of course-commentaries and biblical references are not high on my leisure reading list. But most of my reading is, in fact, done for pleasure.

A number of professional baseball players play golf in the off season. At first glance, it seems odd that baseball players would find swinging a club at a little white ball relaxing. But they do, because they play baseball and golf with different intents. Baseball is work-work they might enjoy, but work nonetheless. Golf is play.

For me, reading is often play. I read to enlighten my soul, brighten my spirit, and tickle my mind.

And, by the way, such reading usually enlivens my preaching. I don't consciously think of books as compendiums of illustrations. When I read to relax, I relax-without note paper at hand. Nonetheless, as I prepare sermons, ...

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