It goes without saying that my hope and desire for you as we journey through the scriptures together is that you will come to a fresh and deepening understanding of who God is, how He acts, how He loves and His restorative plan for humanity and creation. One thing might need to be said: please don’t rush through your readings! I know that it can be difficult to slot time in the Bible into your day. A little thought that has helped me work through that is this: stop thinking about needing to “make time” to read your Bible and start thinking about “taking time” to read your Bible. There is a fair bit of distinction between the two thoughts.
Making time means that reading your Bible become another thing to add to your schedule, something that you have to add to your list of to do’s. We have this mistaken thought in our minds that we can somehow manufacture more time in order to squeeze one more item into our schedules.
The other way to look at it is to “take time” to read your Bible. That means that you have to take time away from one activity (or several activities) in order to have time to spend doing something else. The amount of time does not change, but how you use and arrange that time has to change. Andy Stanley (Charles Stanley’s son) says: “Our time is limited, so we have to limit how we spend our time”.
He has an excellent message about time management from a Biblical perspective. (http://northpoint.org/messages/breathing-room/time/). As a side note, if you are looking for a fantastic preacher to listen to, maybe you miss church or need a different voice to listen to from time-to-time (I won’t be offended), check out Andy Stanley. He is one of my favourite preachers and you can watch his sermons online for free (http://northpoint.org/messages).
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the “big rocks” illustration. It goes like this: a pile of big rocks, smaller rocks and sand all need to fit into a jar. At first it might seem impossible for this to happen. You can try putting the sand in first and then the smaller rocks and then the big rocks, but you will find that they won’t fit properly. There is only one way to make this happen: by putting the big rocks in the jar first. Then the smaller rocks, and lastly the sand. The small rocks fill in the spaces around the big rocks, and then the sand fills in the rest of the space.
In the illustration, the big rocks are the important things in life (kids, spouse, family, friends, character, Bible reading, prayer, Sabbath/rest, etc.), the smaller rocks are the next important things in life (jobs, volunteering, hobbies, vacations, recreation, etc.) and the sand is everything else in life (grocery shopping, email, Facebook, gaming, hobbies, dusting, etc). By taking care of the big stuff in life first (the important stuff) all of the smaller stuff falls into place accordingly.
The glitch in this illustration is that we sometimes mix up what the big rocks actually are. You may think you know what the big rocks, the important things in your life are, but if you actually take a second to look at how you spend your time, you may find that your big rocks are different than you want them to be. What you spend your time on shows you what you really think is important. So if you spend 20 hours a week watching T.V. and only 30 minutes a week reading the Bible, you CANNOT say that reading the Bible is a big rock in your life. You are deceiving yourself. Same rule applies across the board.
As your read Psalm 119, half today and half on Sunday, consider just how valuable the author of this Psalm thought God’s Word was. The whole thing extols the greatness and value of God’s instructions and decrees.
That takes me back to what I said at the beginning: please don’t rush through your Bible reading! Take time for it! Let the living, breathing Word of Holy Eternal God speak into your heart, illuminate your mind and set your feet on a good and right path; THEN everything else will fit in the jar.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: 1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 72