August 10, 2009

The Love of the Word...

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

Do we love the word of God? Do we read it daily? Do we meditate on it? Do we memorize it? These are questions we should ask of ourselves. Yet it is much more difficult to ask and answer these questions when the ‘we’ is replaced with ‘I’… for when this is done the question hits awful close to home.

As I prepare the curriculum for the basic course, a non-degree training program through the Equatorial Baptist Seminary, I am again and again brought to ask myself how I can transfer the academic knowledge the students receives in their minds and cause it to appear in their lives. The answer that continues to present itself is that the student must love the Word and the Lord more than anything. If this course is going to train leaders of the church who desire to see churches grow and multiply it must be focused on Scripture. If the life of those involved in the program, whether as professors or as students, are to truly reflect God then they must have at the center of their days the Word of the Lord. So, as we create a course to train we use the mirror. When we hold us the professors, the students, the textbooks, and all other things, we keep asking if these things reflect the Bible.

After reading again the verses in Deuteronomy, the question as to the place given to the Scriptures in my life presented itself. As I focused on the Bible in preparation for the course, I have come to wonder if it is the center of my life. Do I place it the prominent shelf or do I delegate it to corner shelf with all the other knickknacks in my life? Then I remember something from one of our trips into the interior region. A team of American volunteers, some missionaries, and myself were docked in the small river town of Bagre to do evangelism with house-to-house evangelism. We during this time we came to know many members of the small Baptist congregation and some of them would visit us on the boat where we were staying. One day, I was sitting talking with some of the team and some Brazilian nationals when a small girl came to the boat. She talked to one of the team members and they looked at me with a ‘help’ expression. So, I spoke to this ten-year-old girl and found out that she had come to the boat because she thought we might be able to give her a Bible. She was the only believer in her family and a faithful attendee of the church but did not have a Bible. We had brought with us some Bibles to give out and to leave with the church to give out later. So, I went to get one while she waited. I gave her the Bible and it was then that I saw what has affected me until this day… she took the Bible and hugged it. Oh, what a beautiful sight… to see how she cherished the Scripture!

So, often we are careless with our Bibles, yes, many of us have more than one. They end up for days on the floor of the car or gathering dust on the side table next to the bed. We treat the Bible itself like a common magazine, unimportant and disposable. However, the sweet young Brazilian girl held this Bible in such a manner that it was clear that the Lord and His Word had first place in her life. Oh, how I wish I could say that every day in my life I held in esteem the Scriptures like this young believer. Alas, I regret to say that I too often find dust on my many Bibles. It is therefore my prayer that each us will learn to treasure the Bible like this young girl.