What is really in the way

By Leonard Lauriault: QCS columnist

I usually do my non-work-related reading and writing (like these articles) in my easy chair at home. The chair has wide armrests convenient for resting my Bible on leaving my lap open for writing or reading other resources. Recently, having finished working on a writing project, I’d put all the materials away, except my Bible (an oversight on my part) and began reading the mail.

Eventually, I bumped my Bible, just about knocking it off. That would’ve been a big mess because my Bible’s no longer capable of holding itself together. My concern at the time, however, was, “My Bible is in my way!” Then I thought, “Oops! That’s the wrong attitude!” Still, that’s often how we view our Bibles, and Christianity in general – they’re in the way. Feeling convicted, I momentarily set aside the mail to get my thoughts for this article roughly on paper.

The Bible is physically in the way for some people. Well-cared-for Bibles displayed on the coffee table often are gently moved aside to make room for a solitaire game, or to spread out the newspaper. Heaven forbid that we’d do anything like putting something on top of our Bible! I’ve heard of people who revered their Bible so much that nothing was placed on top of it. Dust, however, was allowed to settle on it. Now, with computer solitaire, online newspapers, and 24-hour news channels, the Bible rests safely on display, although overlooked by many and still collecting dust. (Do we still use coffee tables?)

For other people, the Bible’s in the way of their lifestyle (Hebrews 4:12). Mark Twain stated, “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” Many who are acquainted with the Bible haven’t learned its true value, being unable get past the “Thou shalt nots,” and “Thou shalts.” We don’t like to be told, “No,” or “You must….” Still, we must get past God’s commands to experience the value of that obedience (1 Timothy 4:8).

When we stop doing things merely for momentary pleasure, we’ll begin seeing just how destructive many activities are (Hebrews 11:24-26; 1 Timothy 5:5, 6). We’ll also find we have more time and money for things that aren’t destructive, but still enjoyable. We might even experience great pleasure using our time and resources helping others (don’t knock it until you’ve done it; remember, for all his complaining, even George Bailey knew the wonderfulness of a life serving others).

It’s been said that the sure sign of a person having it all together is ownership of a Bible that’s falling apart. Alas, I wish that was entirely the case with my Bible. Sadly, I know that much of its wear came as the result of being used as a booster seat for toddlers during meals or as a stepstool to reach the TV buttons only to be swung by one cover while being returned to its position of prominence on the coffee table.

Everything at our house takes up space. Some things are of little use. Other things make life easier when used for their intended purpose. This is how we should view our Bibles. Instead of letting them merely take up space and be in the way, we should use them for their intended purpose, applying God’s teachings in our life. Then, we’ll learn how wonderful life can be (2 Timothy 3:15-17; James 1:22-25).

Nearly knocking my Bible off the armrest took my focus off reading the mail and onto my Bible, and eventually to my attitude toward God’s word in general. That was good.

Often, though, distractions take our focus off God’s word and our lives start falling apart. Having addressed the distraction caused by my Bible, I finished reading the mail. The Bible says that’s how life will work. If we put God first, everything else comes together (Matthew 6:33; Psalm 37:3-6). Whenever distractions arise, we need to remain focused on God and his word to survive.

What’s your attitude about the Bible? Is it in your way? It’s good for the Bible to take up space in our homes and in our lives (it’s also probably OK to use it as a booster seat when needed). Many made New Year’s resolutions to read their Bible. Don’t let daily Bible reading become an oversight on your part. Keep your resolution and become better acquainted with your Bible as you keep it dusted. If you don’t have a Bible, call me at 461-4421 and one will be provided.