Where’s the strangest place you’ve been caught reading your Bible?
A couple of Sundays ago, David taught on Luke 10:38-42, when Jesus is at Martha’s home. Her sister Mary is at his feet learning from him but Martha is distracted by all the preparations that need to be made. As David preached, he argued that you can’t discover your “what” (your kingdom purpose) if you can’t remember your “why” (why you worship and follow Jesus)! In all of Martha’s work she lost her why because she was stressing over what needed to be done, even telling Jesus what he needed to do! David spoke of her pride that had taken over.
Pride is often at the root of sin causing us to lose sight of the bigger picture. Johnathan Edwards, in his essay “Undetected Pride,” states pride not only causes us to filter out the evil we see in ourselves, it also causes us to filter out God’s goodness in others. In Martha’s case it was her feeling of superiority that she knew best what everyone should be doing. Her sister should be helping and Jesus should be telling her as much. She wasn’t seeing all of God’s goodness playing out right in front of her.
Pride comes in many flavors and, as I listened to David, my mind went to one of my own glaring missteps filled with worldly pride, the pride of wanting to be what I thought someone else wanted me to be or even worse what I didn’t want people to think I was!
It happened early one morning many years ago as I was on an adventure to read my Bible. I began by packing my backpack with my Bible, a spiral notebook, pens, and a snack. I wasn’t sure where I would land but I knew it was a beautiful day and I wanted to enjoy as much of it as possible. As I walked my heart became lighter and I was filled with the expectation of how wonderful the time would be!
I ended up at a shut down restaurant at the corner of Campbell and Collins (a spot many of us know now as Spin Pizza) where there were still small bistro tables on the patio. It was shaded, secluded, comfortable, and quiet except for all the wonderful birds filling the trees. In other words, it was perfect! I was about 45 minutes into communing with God and nature and it happened, a car drove head into the patio and parked facing me and I was caught! To my utter surprise, my reaction was to instantly close my Bible and put it away. All I could think of was, “What would they think of me? Would they think I was weird or worse one of those “bible-beaters?”
As quickly as I put my Bible away, I was convicted and regretful thinking of Jesus’ teaching: “whoever is ashamed of me and my word, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His glory.” (Luke 9:26)
My heart sank into heaviness. Why had I been so quick to react in such a negative fashion? Why did I care what these intruders thought? Why did I assume they would think poorly of me? Wasn’t I further along in my spiritual walk than this? I clearly had lost the “why” of why I followed Jesus.
My pride in wanting to be who I thought they (the world) wanted me to be was primary in my mind. I had forgotten I served the Sovereign God Almighty, my Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Friend. I, like Martha, was rebuked by the Lord and shown I had not chosen to do what was right and good.
So where is the craziest place you’ve ever been caught reading your Bible? How did you react?
I pray your reaction was to keep your Bible open and accept your “intruder’s” presence, becoming a witness to your faith and a possibly catalyst to a conversation about our Risen Lord. Which by the way is to be our “what” of spreading the Good News of the Gospel as we join Christ in his mission of making disciples.
But if you took a misstep like me, remember your sinful pride is no match for his Grace. Thankfully we worship and serve a forgiving God. A God who is slow to anger, abounding in love and able to redeem each of our missteps, by the power of the Holy Spirit within us, reminding us of the “why” so we get on appropriately with the “what”.