Bob Tamasy: The Books We Read And The People We Meet

Thursday, September 5, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Motivational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones often commented, “Five years from now, you’ll be the same except for the books you read and the people you meet.”

Obviously, other factors can influence our lives, but there’s a lot of truth to Jones’s statement. Being an avid reader, I’ve been dramatically affected by many books I’ve read and the authors who wrote them. If you’ve seen many of my posts, you know the Bible has been the single most influential book in my life. But there have been many others as well.

I remember reading classic books like Treasure Island, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Hans Brinker and A Tale of Two Cities that whisked me to other lands and other times. As an adult I spent some time experiencing the horrifying worlds of Stephen King, and novels by John Grisham made life with lawyers and judges seem exciting. Uplifting works by the likes of Philip Yancey, Walter Wangerin, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis, Charles Swindoll and others informed and challenged my understanding of God and true spirituality.

It’s sad that reading has become a second-rate pastime for many people, because every book I’ve read gave me something to think about and in one way or another, made me a bit richer person.

The people I’ve met have had an even more profound impact on my life. I’ve already written about teachers and college professors. But employers, work colleagues, friends and family members have had an impact on me no words could ever fully express.

As a journalist it’s been my privilege to interview numerous well-known people, many worth knowing – and some that weren’t. Hours I spent with individuals like Jesse Owens, U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson, Charles Colson, Archie Griffin and others left strong, positive impressions. I’ll never forget the words of Joni Eareckson Tada – a speaker, author, artist and singer who became incredibly accomplished despite becoming a quadriplegic as a teenager. She told me, “I shudder to think what my life would have been like if I had not become paralyzed.” Wow!

But it’s the “everyday people” who’ve come into my life, sometimes just briefly, that have had the greatest impact of all. A kind word here, a wise rebuke there, a casual comment that echoed long after they had departed. Voices of experience and insight, counsel from people who’ve “been there, done that” to help me in working through various problems and decisions.

The apostle Paul apparently also understood the importance of books we read and people we meet. Writing to his disciple, Timothy, he said, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments (the equivalent of books at the time)” (2 Timothy 4:13).

Earlier in the same book, Paul vividly described the multi-generational impact people can have: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). When Jesus instructed His followers, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), He was already envisioning the countless millions through the centuries that one day would commit their lives to Him by faith.

So I ask you: What are the challenging, thought-provoking books you’re reading? And who are the people you’re encountering from day to day, individuals that are having a meaningful impact on your life? Five years from now, as Charlie Jones said, you’ll be a different person because of them. Especially if one of those books is the Bible.

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



Multi-Faith Panel: Raising Children In Chattanooga Is Sunday

Creative Discovery Museum is hosting its first Multi-faith Panel: Raising Children in Chattanooga.  This panel is designed for parents, teachers and other interested adults and teens. Participants are invited to come for pizza before the program. Museum staff will provide childcare and facilitated activities for children ages 3-11.  The event is free and open to ... (click for more)

"A Place Of Praise" Is Sermon Sunday At Metro Tab Church

Metro Tab Church, 2101 West Shepherd Road in Chattanooga, Highway 153 at Airport exit 1, invites the public to hear the message "A Place of Praise" by Pastor Steve Ball at the 10:30 a.m. worship service this Sunday. "Everyone is invited to come and worship with us," officials said. (click for more)

Walker Sentenced To 4 Years In State Prison For Tragic Woodmore Bus Wreck

Johnthony Walker was sentenced to four years in state prison on Tuesday in connection with a school bus crash that claimed six lives and injured 22 other Woodmore Elementary students. Judge Don Poole declined to run any of the sentences consecutively, while finding that the 25-year- old Walker was not a "dangerous offender." Walker has already served almost a year of the sentence ... (click for more)

Pet Raccoon That Was Destroyed Did Not Have Rabies

A pet raccoon that was destroyed in order to test for rabies after biting a neighbor child did not have rabies, Chattanooga attorney Chris Jones. The family has been advised it can pick up the remains of Boomer at the Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department. Attorney Jones, who specializes in wildlife cases, earlier argued there was no valid reason for health ... (click for more)

Set Up A Council On Love, Not A Council On Hate - And Response

In Mayor Berke's April 19 version of the Berke Bulletin, he announced plans to establish a Council on Hate and indicated a focus on tolerance. I beg of him to reconsider that plan. One problem in Chattanooga and in other places in America is that there are some people who have already established an informal version of a Council on Hate. I suggest that a more productive plan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Corker And ‘The Code’

Of all the vows, pledges, and bonds born unto the human race, nothing overrides “The Code.” It is an unwritten but deeply important knowledge that men should abide with equal respect, fierce loyalty, and chivalrous understanding of one another. For example, The Code dictates you must not and can never date a good friend’s ex-girlfriend, or ex-wife. Rather, you respect your friend ... (click for more)