No Harry Potter, Twilight or Lord of the Rings can outsell the undisputed number one read of all time. This book has been there for centuries. It has been translated in several different languages and has taken various shapes, sizes and versions. It was written by folks dressed in sheepskin and (probably) vintage Birkenstocks. It tells us stories of fires, famine, women turning to salt and sticks turning to snakes. It's chockfull of action, drama, romance and adventure. More so, it talks of a carpenter who died on the cross for a sin he didn't commit.
Growing up, I never really paid a lot of attention to it; I see my dad read it often but I never really took it seriously. Had I known that the Bible would contain some of the most amazing stories I have ever heard, I would have probably started young!
I don't know if you've tried going into a Christian bookstore.There you will find amazing versions of the Holy Book. Bibles of every color. Black, blue and brown for the conservative types. Hot pink, orange, striped and floral for a little feminine touch. Leather. Hardbound. Paperback. And the versions: NIV. ESB. KJV. NASB. The Message…and the list goes on. (Mine is light blue by the way, with little curlicues on the pages. It's a Teen Study Bible. Forgive me, I am still a child in awe.) They’ve dressed it up, dressed it down, made it more enticing to read and take in.
For those who do, we've heard this confession from fellow Christians one too many times. I have even been guilty of it myself: "I need to read my Bible more.”
During my quiet time I would remember a particular character and attempt to 'schedule' reading it for tomorrow ("Why have I never read about Habakkuk? Or Nahum? Or his chapter neighbors?") but I would forget the next day. I don't know if you're like me, but I sometimes feel that I should be at that stage now wherein I can spew off Bible verses as I would on Brad Pitt movies or Jason Mraz songs. If I claim to accept God in my life, why don’t I know His Facts well enough?
And then Max Lucado gives me this: "Don't be discouraged if your reading reaps a small harvest. Some days a lesser portion is all that is needed." That hit me real hard. I attempt to read because I want to learn and absorb it all (it's probably the corporate in me). I forget that the Bible is not like any other book. It thrives. The Word is living, and it lives in me. Instead of trying to focus on memorizing verses, pressuring myself with remembering obscure places and people in specific chapters, I need to listen more to what God wants me to hear. It’s not a competition of who knows it the most. Sometimes, our own lives are reflection of what we know AND how we applied what we know. The choice is ours.
Don't get me wrong. I am still on the path to wanting to become a verse-memorizing, character-remembering bible fan. I just realized that I shouldn't beat myself too much about it. Memorizing verses is great, but understanding it helps me hear God more clearly.
And that spells the difference.