So, did you read the Bible today? Did you study it?
It's two different things, you know. I'm studying Proverbs in Bible Study, and Genesis in church, but I'm also reading Song of Solomon because we're going to be studying that in a few weeks in Bible Study, and I'm also reading Paul's letter to the Romans because I've had a hankering for that lately. I think it's just been a while since I read that, and I'm experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms.
I know people who prefer only to be in one book at a time. The book they are studying at Bible Study is the one they read in their Quiet Time at home, too. And I can see how one could do a very in-depth study that way. But I like the surprises I get when I'm wondering and wandering in more than one book at a time. I make connections or get understanding that I might not otherwise.
Now, of course the pinnacle of understanding is when the Bible explains the Bible, but sometimes there are other ways He uses. A comment a friend makes, or something in a book I'm reading... I just love tying those lessons to Scripture.
But every once in awhile I find myself understanding, or being reminded of something I didn't want to know. One of those reminders that hits you right in the selfish. Like "forgive seventy times seven". That one's a bummer when you've just been wronged, isn't it?
Well, a recent occurrence of this for me consisted of a Bible verse that came up in a daily devotional, and a poem a friend sent me.
The poem I've seen before; it's been credited to Mother Theresa. This is not the whole thing, but here are the highlights ~
People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
People need help, but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.
That gives you the gist of it.
The Scripture I read was this:
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:20)
And what caught my eye was two little words, "all things".
And those three little words, "love them anyway".
I had recently spent a few hours with a friend of mine that I sometimes have trouble loving. We don't have much in common, and our chemistry isn't quite in sync, or something. But our paths cross every once in awhile, and I get the chance to practice my "love thy neighbor". But lately our paths have crossed more than usual, and I was having a little trouble with the nonstop loving I was having to do. And worse, I realized I was thinking of perfectly good reasons not to. Reasons that justify my being impatient or irritated.
But there was the verse. And the reminder. "Observe all things... Love thy neighbor... I have commanded you."
The power to obey comes from Him. But the willingness to obey has to come from me.
~ "You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it:
'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" ~