"When you leave seminary," a professor had said, "you should have a trunkful of personal belongings and a U-Haul full of books."

I chuckled, but the chuckle was laden with guilt-guilt over my meager library and guilt over spending money on books. Not that I didn't like books. I loved them. But having a love affair with books is different from actually building a library. My wife and I were just starting married life, complete with bills. How could we afford our living expenses, pay tuition and still buy books? We simply couldn't.

When the day came to move to our first full-time ministry, we did load a U-Haul-with our personal belongings. My books didn't even fill the back seat of our '72 Hornet.

The desire to seriously work on my library remained frustrated early in the pastorate. One child was born the first year and a second was soon on the way. My library lay dormant.

With inadequate resources for sermon preparation, I found my creativity suffering. For example, while working on a message ...

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