By Debra Whittington
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
— Psalm 1:1-2
I woke up Sunday morning not feeling well, but not actually sick. As I lay in bed for a few minutes, I thought how easy it would be to stay in bed, thus missing church. The more I thought, the more I realized I didn’t have a valid reason to stay in bed. I dragged myself out, still seeking excuses and not finding any, and proceeded to get ready for church.
Later that day, I was glad I made myself go to church for I was blessed by a wonderful message from the word of God. I even commented to the pastor how much it blessed me and told how tempted I was to stay home that morning. He said he was glad I came.
I thought a little more about my experience and even recalled a story I once heard about a man who was seeking excuses not to go to church. He just didn’t feel like going. Finally exasperated, his wife exclaimed, “You have to go, you’re the pastor”!
While it is a humorous story, it relates so much truth to doing things even when we don’t feel like it.
There are many things in our lives that we don’t feel like doing, but once we get started are so blessed by them. Bible reading is one of these blessings that gets sidelined due to excuses. Other than the old excuse of not feeling like it, another well-used excuse is simply we don’t have the time. I myself use that one. However, after a story I heard recently, I will think twice about using it as an excuse.
Monday through Friday, I enjoy listening to the radio program “Turning Point” with Dr. David Jeremiah.
One morning, talking about reading the Bible and how it can change your life, he gave a rather startling statistic. He said 23 percent of people who claim to be Christians never read the Bible.
I wonder what the statistic is for Christians who read the Bible occasionally.
He noted that it takes the average person 72 hours to read through the Bible. Among those people who are too busy to read the Bible, they spend an average of 70 hours in two weeks watching television.
If all of this doesn’t encourage a person to read the Bible, the following story is bound to convict. In World War II, the first American to step on Belgium soil was Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison, Jr. who was in charge of the Allied forces.
Wounded in battle, this exceptional soldier won every medal of valor except the Congressional Medal of Honor. The fact that he was a busy man is unquestionable and yet he had time to read his Bible. He made it a priority to immerse himself in the word of God.
Beginning at age 20 as a West Point Cadet, Harrison read the Old Testament through twice a year and the New Testament four times a year. He continued this practice until his 90s when he lost his eyesight.
Harrison was considered a wise, self-controlled man who was often asked for advice. His wisdom was even sometimes compared to Solomon. Because of this, he was chosen by President Eisenhower to lead negotiations to put an end to the war in Korea.
Those who knew him said the Bible influenced every area of his life and he faced every problem based on what the Bible had to say.
He knew the power of the Bible as stated in Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
I pray that I can develop a heart for reading the Bible like Lt. Gen. Harrison and apply it to my life as he did. I think the word of the Psalmist sums it all up. In Psalms 119: 11, 15-16 we read, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”