Have you ever read a biography or autobiography that was difficult to put down? Have you ever read the story of another woman or man that caused you to really think?
When I was a child, a branch of the Dallas Public Library opened near our home. I often went to this library on Saturday mornings. Much of my time was spent in a section of books that contained the biographies and autobiographies for my age group. I loved these books. I read stories of presidents, generals, coaches, and world explorers. I read the biographies of people like Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, Winston Churchill, Louisa May Alcott, and many, many others. I read the biographies of people who lived in the USA and in other countries as well. It was wonderful.
I continue to love biographies. Just the other evening, I walked into a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Within a few minutes, I was thumbing through the new biographies. I stood in one place looking at biography after biography. There is something about reading a great biography that not only helps me understand the person who is the subject of the book but also sometimes helps me understand my own story.
Almost eighteen years ago, our family was traveling through Missouri. We spent one night in a downtown St. Louis hotel. I vividly recall getting up early the next morning and slipping out of the room while my family slept. I went downstairs to find a cup of coffee and a place where I could read. For the next hour or so, I sat at a small table on the sidewalk, nursing a cup of coffee, and read William Martin’s biography of Billy Graham. This biography was so refreshing to me. Graham’s integrity spoke volumes and was encouraging and even inspirational to me. I suspect that one reason for remembering the morning so vividly is that Graham’s story encouraged me at a critical time when I was very discouraged with my ministry.
Now please think for a moment about some of the biographies you have read. Think about the people who were the subjects of those biographies.
What attracts you to read a particular biography?
Whose life story have you read that you particularly enjoyed?
Whose life story would you one day like to read?