Dr. Wilson is an American who lives and works in modern Turkey, directing both the St. Paul Center and the Seven Churches Network, each of which is located in the city of Antalya. He has travelled the length and breadth of the country documenting Biblical sites. Along the way, he has also written the definitive book on these sites: Biblical Turkey: A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor.
Knowing in advance that Dr. Wilson would be with us for the trip, I ordered a copy of his book. It arrived about two weeks before the first day of the trip. Each passing day, I kept planning to begin reading it; but alas, I also kept finding myself preoccupied with various other activities and matters.
Zig Ziglar once said that if we could and would approach every work day the way we do the last day or two before we leave for vacation, then our desks would soon be cleared off! I can certainly relate to that. (If you are like me, and you know you are going to be out of pocket for a few days, then you will likely find yourself quite busy addressing a multitude of issues in order that you can get out of town with a clear head!)
All of this is to say that I placated myself by saying that I would read Dr. Wilson’s book in route to Turkey. After all, the trip over consisted of three flights, totaling nearly fifteen hours. But, once on the plane, I soon found myself deciding it best to get some sleep, as we were scheduled to land and immediately begin an eleven day marathon of non-stop travel. I decided I would catch up on the book in my hotel room.
Sadly, once ensconced in my room, I discovered to my chagrin that I had left my book at home. Try as I might to locate it, it was nowhere to be found in my luggage. Fast forward a day or two and I soon had much to regret.
Dr. Wilson can read inscriptions in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew like he is reading the newspaper. Every place we visited, he would show us 2000 year old inscriptions and give a short summary of the significance of whatever ruin we happened to viewing. And then, invariably, he would say something like: “We don’t really have time to go into any more detail here; but you can read my book. I cover this in great depth on pages such and such…”
As I looked around, virtually every other participant was jotting something in the margin of their books. Of course, I too was jotting down my own notes at every place we visited, only in a small notebook. But mostly these were designed to drive me to explore deeper in Dr. Wilson’s book when I did finally get home.
Then, each evening when we got back to our hotel room, my roommate would sit around for hours reading his copy of Dr. Wilson’s book and saying things like: “Oh, so that’s what he meant.” Or “Well, now that makes sense!” For my part, I had to simply grin and bear it all.
And then something wonderful happened. On the last night we were there, as I was repacking my suitcase for the return trip home, I found my copy of Dr. Wilson’s book. It had been in a side pouch all along! I had just overlooked it. Needless to say, I was overjoyed. I read more in a single sitting that one evening than I have in quite some time. And the next day, as everyone had done, I asked Dr. Wilson to sign my book; which he gladly did.
I share this with you because it has served to remind me of another authoritative book written by One Who is infinitely smarter than me. I refer, of course, to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. Like so many Christians, I possess not one, but multiple copies of this single book. And even though my Lord repeatedly say to me, “Read my book!”, all too often I find myself too busy to spend time in His Word. And still He says: “Read my book!”
I have been reminded once again that life is a fairly short journey. And as I travel the road of life, I can take time to learn more from God’s Word, or I can remain ignorant of the truths He desires for me to know. But if I choose the latter, it will certainly be to my own detriment.
The same is true for you, my friend. Listen and you will surely hear God’s voice. And part of what He will likely say is this: “Read my book!”
Dr. Mark Wilson’s biography is online at the Seven Churches Network web site: http://sevenchurches.org/about/.
If desired, Dr. Wilson’s book, mentioned above, can be purchased here.
Saint Paul Cultural Center: http://www.stpaulcc-turkey.com/.
See also: http://stpaulcc-turkey.com/index.php/turkey-tour-consultation.
TUTKU Tours, Turkey: http://www.tutkutours.com/.