Thursday, October 1, 2009

for a timely word on The Word

From an email newsletter from the folks at Shepherd Press:

People are concerned about food. The reality is that if we don’t eat we won’t live. However, the Bible says that we do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4). By making this comparison, the Holy Spirit shows the importance of Scripture. Moses and Christ both make the same statement: man does not live by bread alone. Christians sometimes mentally recast well known passages such as this one in more comfortable religious terms. For example, we might read this passage as though it said Christians do not live by bread alone. After all, the Bible seems to be less and less relevant to those outside the church community. But to read it that way would be a mistake. In reality, people who do not live by the words that proceed from the mouth of God are literally dead men walking.

We are comfortable thinking of the Bible as being important for church or for Sunday School. We can think of the Bible as being important for daily quiet times or for other religious activities. But it may be difficult to see the Bible as more important to one’s wellbeing than eating is—especially for those who are not Christians. But Christ is explicit—man does not live by bread alone. In I Timothy 6, Paul indicates that there is a life that is truly life. This means that sometimes death masquerades as life. True life is only accessible through the very words of God.

The grave danger that Christians face, as Paul admonishes in Ephesians 4:17, is to embrace the futile thoughts of the world and live as if those thoughts were the ones that really matter. In the everyday world of modern culture the Bible is not valued. For example, children often enthusiastically ask what’s for supper. But one seldom hears this: What’s for Bible study tonight? Someone might say, That’s not fair, you're comparing eating with looking at the Bible. My point exactly!

When supper is served, generally some care is given to how the food is prepared and whether the meal is served attractively. The plates and utensils used to serve supper are clean. The table is wiped clean before the meal is served. Even in a hectic home, there is some thought given to what food will be served and when. Meals are varied so as not to be boring. Shopping for meals may take place at several different stores. Recipes may be consulted to provide new and fresh ways to make meals attractive and enjoyable. Sometimes a friend might be consulted for a better way to prepare a particular meal. Now contrast this preparation for supper with the preparation used to serve God’s Word to families. Sitting down to read the Bible without advance thought and planning is about as appealing as sitting down to eat supper when all of the food and dishes from the night before have been left out on the table to be used again.

Use the above analogy and answer the question again – how important is the Bible? Certainly, for most of us it would be accurate to say that, functionally, we consider the serving and preparation of bread to be far more important than serving the Word of God. This distinction is not lost on children.

This challenged me...did it challenge you?