At Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), if you mention the name “Prof” you will get a smile and a warm memory for the ministry of Howard Hendricks. He was one of my “heroes” that I never met. I heard countless sermons and lectures he gave. I read most of his books in high-school and college.
I was recently reading through one of his books, Teaching to Change Lives. In one of the chapters he makes a statement that made me stop in my tracks. He writes:
“The two factors that will influence you the most in the years ahead are the books you read and the people you’re around.” – Howard Hendricks
If you’re like me, you may go through life and give little thought to what present factors shape our future selves. I want to encourage and challenge us with a few questions to consider:
- What books am I reading?
- Am I reading any books at all?
- What skill would I like to develop?
- How can I go deeper in a topic that I already possess some knowledge?
- Whose life would I like to study?
- What story (fictional or historical) do I know very little about?
“Understand that leaders are readers, and readers are leaders.” – Howard Hendricks
- Who do I spend the most time with?
- What attitudes do they possess? Positive? Negative? Indifferent?
- What do you do when you’re together?
- What three character traits would define your 2-3 closest friends? Are those qualities ones that you desire?
These are a few of the questions that I am asking myself right now. I would invite you to ask yourself what books you’re reading and who you’re spending your time with. We will look back in a few years and begin to see what factors influenced who we have become.