Reading Roundup- March 2024

Stewardship has been a major theme in my life lately, so you’ll see several articles in this list that inform how we should steward various aspects of our lives. Also included is a fascinating article on a lesser-known army of World War II and yet another article about the importance of independent play, risk, and the outdoors for children.

We Who Have Few Talents and Sparse Gifts

Tim Challies

Challies points out how those who seemed to be most used by God or revered by Scripture were often those you’d least expect—the widow who gave her two pennies, the little girl whose advice saved Naaman, a donkey, for goodness’ sake! Every good gift comes from the Lord, and we are responsible for stewarding these gifts and talents for His glory.

“The fact is, the God who used spit and dust to cure a man of his blindness can most certainly make use of you…Contentment comes when we accept what God has given us and commit it to his cause, no matter how great or how small it seems to our eyes.”

Share Even What’s Sparse

Cindy Matson
Bible Study Nerd

Cindy Matson confronts the lie that we can only share what we have in abundance. She discusses four things we commonly feel are sparse—time, space, gifts, and resources—and describes how God has given us enough of each to share generouly with others. We should share out of love and faithfulness, even if we feel these things may be limited.

“Our job is not to weigh out the cost and benefit. Our responsibility is merely to be faithful stewards of what He’s entrusted to us, whether in plenty or scarcity.”

Redeem Your Free Time

Reagan Rose
Redeeming Productivity

We have a theme here. The last few years have forced me to reckon with my idea of rest, free time, and (again) stewardship. We have a set amount of time, that is determined by God, and we must steward it well. That includes “free time,” which Rose calls a “massive stewardship opportunity.” Free, or leisure, time is still God’s and we must redeem the time through activities that are truly restful, not just vegging on mindless entertainment.

“The less time I spend on devices in my free time, the less busy I feel and, therefore, the more rested I feel.”

God Is Good and Does Good—Even in Our Pain

Garrett Kell

George Mueller, a man famous for his work with orphans and writing on prayer, was marked by his deep faith and trust in God’s sovereignty and provision. He also suffered much pain and trials in his life. Mueller’s response to his suffering has informed Kell’s perspective on pain and suffering. The bottom line is that God is good in all circumstances, and we look no further than Christ Himself as the proof of God’s goodness.

“If God gave us Jesus, what good would he ever withhold from us?”

Patrick of Ireland: The Unlikely Hero of Church History

Bradley Bell

St. Patrick is one of my favorite missionary stories from church history. Kidnapped as a teenager by Irish raiders, he was taken to Ireland and enslaved for six years. He eventually made an escape back to his home country of Britain. Years later, he returned to Ireland as a missionary. In this article, Bradley Bell gives us another look at Patrick. Patrick was a man with few credentials or pedigree, yet God used him to preach the gospel in Ireland and establish the Irish church. His story challenges us to confront our own credentials and whether we depend on them too much in our service to the Lord.

“Patrick’s deepest troubles only served to heighten his greatest triumphs. God’s strength was perfected in his weakness.”

If a Millennial Is Born and No One Records It on Their Phone, Do They Really Exist?

Samuel D. James
Digital Liturgies

But I remember, in college, feeling like if I didn’t post something I did to Facebook, it didn’t happen. And that was when Facebook was still relatively new, and several years before smartphones were prolific. (I’m aging myself.) This article from Samuel D. James illustrates just how much further we’ve gone down this hole, and what a depressing lifestyle so many lead as they seek to remain relevant online.

“Either you are becoming more visible, more vulnerable, more active, more engaged, and more ‘accessible’—or you may not exist at all.”

Why We Can Be Patient When Sleep Deprived

Rachel McIntosh

I am not good at being tired. But I am still responsible for how I act, respond to others, and manage my emotions, no matter how I feel physically. This article was a needed reminder that God’s grace and strength are sufficient for each new day, regardless of how the previous night went.

“When I give in to impatience, it’s because I chose to, not because I couldn’t help it. Sin is not a foregone conclusion because we have the Spirit in us.”

I Feel I Think I Believe

Tim Challies

This is one from the archives, but still relevant for us today. I constantly use “I feel” language, which is challenged by this article. Challies breaks down the three phrases, arguing that there is a hierarchy between beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. While we often want to set feelings at the top of that hierarchy, Challies says that beliefs should be the most strongly held convictions, thoughts as areas of growth, and feelings as initial responses requiring further development.

“Feelings will not sustain us when the world turns against us. Feelings will not sustain us when enemies rise up to oppose our faith. Feelings will not sustain us in the face of compelling arguments against the Bible, against creation, against the resurrection. Only strong convictions grounded upon well-formed thoughts will be enough in that day.”

‘Ghost Army’ that fooled Hitler will receive Congress’s highest honor

Christopher Klein
The Washington Post

This was probably my favorite article I read this month. I’m fascinated by World War II and this was a story I had never heard before. It sounds like this group is finally getting the recognition they deserve. (Side note- did anyone else get “The Battle of Schrute Farms” vibes reading this?)

Why Children Need Risk, Fear, and Excitement in Play

Mariana Brussoni
After Babel

As my kids were clamboring over rocks on a hike yesterday, this article was brought to mind. Like many Millennial parents, I have to fight against a desire to bubble wrap my children and shield them from any friction they may encounter in their life. I know that’s not best for them, which is why I appreciate articles like this that show me how my efforts to manage my own fears and protect my children may actually reduce their safety and chances of success. I’d love to find more Christians who are talking about this particular subject, but for now, I appreciate the research-based approach to this article and the practical applications of it as I raise my own kids.

“Risky play provides children with low-cost opportunities to develop the physical and cognitive skills to master the challenges that they will face as they grow older.”

You can find previous roundups here.