Recently, while studying at Barnes and Noble for my English finals, I noticed several people in the store examining the covers of the books they were holding. I watched all of them with curiosity and waited to see what they would do with the book. I was amazed when every one of the five people I was watching put the book down without opening it up to glance through its pages. I admit that I am a book lover. When considering purchasing a book, I peruse the pages, read short sections, and take in the scent of new paper as the pages release their addictive aroma. This people-watching experience caused me to think about how we as people treat others we do not know very well. If one can put a book down and choose not to buy it based solely on its appearance and the words on the cover, is he/she apt to look at the outer shell and demeanor of a person and choose not to make a connection?
This month, consider having several members of your small group form a book club. Plan to meet once a month at a local bookstore that serves coffee, or someoneâ€™s home if there are no bookstores in your area. To begin, choose a book from the New York Times best sellerâ€™s list (i.e.: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, State of Fear by Michael Crichton, A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett, or Black Wind by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler). After selecting a book, invite people who love to read but may not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Reading and discussing a popular novel in a setting of good coffee and non-judgmental fellowship will open up opportunities to talk about your faith using the context of the book. During your regular small group meetings, commit to pray for those who have joined the book club. When appropriate, ask them to join your group. Remember not to judge those who come to the book club by their appearance or opinions. Instead, take the time to peruse their beliefs, read their emotions and attitudes, and choose to be the aroma of Christ in their life.