A possibility came to me as I walked yesterday: What if I spoke the words of Jesus to the cashier when I checked out at the grocery? What if instead of gorging her into mindless oblivion with the words she hears a million times a day (“going to be hot today” or “boy, is it cold out there”), I said, “Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life”? What if I repeated the words of Jesus to everyone I came in contact with in a day? “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Mk. 6:50). “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
What if I loved the Word so dearly that I pressed my lips to the truths God revealed and sunk to my knees when I read? What if I pruned off other books and eliminated screen times and read His Word like it was His Word? What if I read the Word like I would if I thought it would be taken from me at the end of the week? What if I handled His Word with intensity and fervor, breathing it deep into my lungs like a man with a nicotine craving? What if I ate the Word like a prisoner of war, long starved, hollowed out by hunger? What if I snatched it up like a love letter and withdrew to read and reread words that swell and burst like fireworks inside? What if I wasn’t hazy and distracted and half bored when I read the Words that come from the Eternal, holy and exalted God?
Recently, I saw a video of some foreign young people swarming around a just opened box. The energy of their anticipation was electric. They rushed upon the treasure. Then, in euphoria they kissed the Bibles they held in their hands, tears welling and streaming. The electricity turned to serenity, peace and thankfulness. A beautiful young woman prayed in words I can’t translate, but understood perfectly: Thank You for sending us Your Word.
At the end of WWII American bombers dropped food to starving prisoners of war. They gorged. Depleted bodies revolted; yet they ate and ate.
After entrusting his life to Christ, an Asian student read the Bible through in three months. Dr. John Mitchell, newly converted, sat long into the night, every night, smoking cigars, eating apples and reading the Bible. And he read it again, and again, and again.
Where is my intensity? My fervor? My fire?
Can a Christian live on the brink of starvation while carrying her Bible to church every Sunday? Can a believer exist, malnourished for a lifetime, reading lazily, now and then, grazing, with one eye on the newspaper and the clock?
Father, forgive me. Light my fire; breathe on my ashes; bellow me into smolder and flame.