I love books. My bookshelves are full, and most of them have two rows of books so I can fit them in. I have a stack by the side of my bed — along with a shelf in my office — of books waiting to be read.

But I also love going to the library. I love walking in and browsing the shelves. Sometimes I am looking for an author I love. Sometimes I am trying to find a new title that someone told me about. But many times I stumble across something new, something different, something that catches my eye. It might be a novel. It might be a new poet. It might be about current events. It might be about history. It might be about faith. Those titles lead me to new worlds, new visions, new thoughts, that enrich my life and expand my horizons.

I find a similar adventure with people. As I get to know others, I am invited into their world and their experiences that challenge my thoughts, show me new ways and lenses to view the world. Sometimes it happens with people I have just met. Sometimes it happens as I get to know someone deeper that I have known for years.

The same adventure happens in my relationship with God. When I take the time to be in relationship with God — through prayer, through Scripture, through worship, through service — I am renewed in the life and meaning that God intended through Jesus. It truly becomes what Jesus promised: “a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) The same surprises happen with God as with books and people. Sometimes a verse pops out at me as if I have never seen it before. Sometimes I get a new insight into a familiar image. Sometimes my spirit is lifted in surprising, unexpected ways.

When I consider all the many opportunities that come my way every single day to grow and learn from books and people and prayer, I am reminded of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians:

“I pray that … [God] may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through [God’s] Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

So, let us all open our lives to whatever God may bring your ways. Open your lives to all people you encounter, friend or stranger, of all religions, nationalities, races and orientations. Commit yourself to learning something new each day. Be ready for at least one surprise to reveal itself.

Ground yourself in Jesus and open yourself up to all the possibilities God places before you. See this day not as an obligation but as an opportunity.

Join in the adventure. There is no age limit. You are never too old or too young. Be ready for what God longs to show you.

The Rev. David Armstrong-Reiner is pastor at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 2375 Ga. Highway 20 in Conyers. Contact him at pastor.david@conyerselc.org.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.