How I Spent My Study Week

The Session of Grace Presbyterian Church has graciously given me the opportunity to take a study week each year, and this year I have spent it at the RTS library in Jackson, MS. John Piper, in his book Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (one of the books I have read this week), explains the need for pastors to take study weeks: “Most of our people have no idea what two or three new messages a week cost us in terms of intellectual and spiritual drain. Not to mention the depletions of family pain, church decisions, and imponderable theological and moral dilemmas. I, for one, am not a self-replenishing spring. My bucket leaks, even when it is not pouring. My spirit does not revive on the run. Without time of unhurried reading and reflection, beyond the press of sermon preparation, my soul shrinks, and the specter of ministerial death rises. Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation” (p. 66).

I feel Piper’s dryness and lack of unhurried time to read, and thus I have been refreshed this week sitting among books and journals. Besides Piper’s book, I’ve read the gospel of John, Isaiah 40-66, Witmer’s The Shepherd Leader, Clowney’s Preaching and Biblical Theology, and the beginning of Lloyd Jones’ Spiritual Depression. I recommend them all very highly. I have also spent a good deal of time in the rare book room, doing research on Thomas Smyth, a 19th century Southern Presbyterian pastor in Charleston, SC. His love for Christ and his love for missions have been a great encouragement to my soul, and I hope to write a little article one day on his influence on the missional life of the Southern Presbyterian Church.

I’ve learned about myself this week, that one of the most restful and reinvigorating things I can do is go into a library and read and research. I love the solitude, the silence, the smell of old books. Some people need to go to the beach, I need to go to the library. I have regretted that I didn’t spend enough time in this place while I was in seminary.

The Lord has been good to me, and I have good hopes that this time will bear fruit for His sheep in the weeks and months and years to come. Pray for me, and for your pastor if I am not he, that our communion with the Lord would be deep, rich, and full.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Steve and Susan Sperry on June 13, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Thanks for sharing your study week with us. Daily study and learning the Word is time consuming but rewarding. We are truly blessed to have a Pastor who cares so much for his flock. Diligent study by us all leads to unity in the church.
    We pray for even more study time for you. We all reap the benefits of your study.
    We pray God keeps you strong, replenishes you quickly and watches over your beautiful family.

    In R.B. Kuipers book The Glorious Body of Christ,
    “The church’s task is to teach and preach the Word of God. Whatever else it may properly do is subordinate and subsidiary to that task”.
    We are grateful for your dedication.
    Steve and Susan


  2. Posted by Brink on June 14, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Glad that your week was refreshing. Thought about y’all…


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