I could not help but notice the number of 'prophetic books' dealing with various world issues in the last two or three years. Today most of them are not worth the paper they are written on because the world has moved on, and no one is interested in yesterday's news. It reminded me that our search for relevance must be carried out with a solid grasp of the bigger picture or our prognostications are out of date almost before we speak. The same is true of Christian political commentary. With rare exceptions most are too superficial to stand the test of time and more critical analysis and there were stacks of them that will never be read by anyone.
Equally redundant over the long haul are issue oriented books, devotional books and biographies written by or about 'Christian superstars.' This category would include those who have managed to build big churches or television audiences who imagine that because their congregations hang on their every word that they actually have something significant to say on the world stage. Sadly, this is rarely true. Books with pictures of the author on the front cover could be found in abundance at the sale and beyond ego it makes me wonder why they were published in the first place. The same is true of books on relationships, money management, and church leadership. There were scads of them, but none worth buying even at bankruptcy prices.
However, what could not be found at the sale were books of theological and biblical substance. For instance, Bible commentaries and dictionaries, systematic and biblical theologies, language tools, serious historical and apologetic works were no where to be found. They have a transcendent value and so they are the first to go. And the more I think about it, this is the way it should be. Trends and fads come and go, but those works that wrestle with the truth of God's word live on and continue to bless and instruct people long after the authors have gone to be with the Lord. There are many mediums for us to discuss and comment on issues today, like this blog that I am writing, but before books are printed we need to make certain that what is being written is worth preserving beyond the immediacy of the moment. As the saying goes: "Only one life will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last!" As the writer of Ecclesiastes said, "Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body" (12:12). There are many books looking for readers, but only a few valuable ones that will be read over and over again.