I read an article this morning that mothers in Sierra Leone don’t practice breast feeding and don’t have access to formula, so they pour rice water into their babies mouths to feed them. This provides little nutritional value and leaves children susceptible to disease and death. A child born in Sierra Leone has more than a one in four chance of not living to see his or her first birthday. Consequently, this country has the highest mortality rate of children under 5 in the world. Deaths of children that could so easily be avoided!
This illustration reminded me of the church today. I know that many church attending Christians fail to read the Bible regularily. A small passage every Sunday fed to you by your pastor is not enough to be healthy. Just as those mothers have the means with which to feed their children, but fail to do so, we also have the means to “nourish” ourselves spiritually. If it were possible to look into the lives of those that walk away from Jesus, I wonder how many of them simply starved themselves spiritually?
I have a burden for this topic because of the journey I’ve been on to get to love reading the Bible. I used to struggle with the guilt of wondering if I was reading enough or getting enough out of it or if I was being reverent enough. And then I stopped fighting so hard. My general rule of thumb now is to read a chapter a day. It’s so easy to do and I don’t make it more difficult than that . I just read. This is not a time for me to study or pray or find an answer to a problem. I just read for the enjoyment of reading and being with Jesus. Often times I have Mark read to me. If I want to do a Bible study or pray, I do it separately. I put a hedge of freedom around those 5-10 minutes a day when I get to just load up on His Word.
And what I’ve found is that many times God uses those few minutes to speak to me anyway. He uses a verse to remind me who is in control. He uses a verse to put me at ease when I’m stressed. He uses a verse to strengthen my marriage. And sometimes, He says nothing. But no matter what happens, I know that the Word is living and active in my life and I can’t get away from it’s power once it’s poured in.
So, where do you start? Open the Table of Contents and start with an easier book, such as Mark. Or one of my favorites, I and II Timothy. Just read. Write down questions as you go, but don’t get stuck on what you don’t understand. Just read. No worries, no guilt, all freedom. Enjoy!