Nose in the Books
It’s been a long time since I have added any volumes to my theological library. I used to study incessantly and for the last several years, I have been so busy that I must admit that I haven’t been as diligent as I could have been in studying Scripture and learning more about the Creator of the universe. That doesn’t mean that I have been devoid of learning, but I could have done better.
Last night, I was im our library looking at some of the works that I have. Sets of books on the Church Fathers, the history of Christianity, all kinds of commentaries, an entire bookcase full of Greek and Hebrew resources, numerous translations of the Bible and all kinds of academic research. Of course, I also have all my notes from years of seminary neatly tucked into binders with instructor names and class titles on the spines.
Today, a person can go through seminary without even taking the original languages, but I wasn’t that kind of guy. I didn’t want someone else’s interpretation of God’s word – I wanted to read it for myself. Of course, I quickly found out that Greek and Hebrew weren’t a walk in the park and I had to study like crazy to keep up. But you know what? It kept me close to my classmates and in a stronger relationship with God. But the day after you get your doctorate, you begin to wonder what is up next.
Janet and I petitioned the Lord about this very question after I graduated. And it seemed to us that God wanted to plant me back in the corporate world – where I still reside to this day. But there’s a problem with that. You usually aren’t surrounded by people who hold you accountable for making sure you stay true to your calling. It becomes easier to slide backward and start to think about the world as opposed to realizing that you have been “heaven sent” to make this world more Christ-like. And if you aren’t careful, you can slip into old habits and begin to forget that you are a child of God and your standards aren’t the standards of this world.
I have to be careful about this. I don’t spend enough lunches with my seminary buddies and professors. Believe it or not, I can now start to tell when I have been away from them too long. I start to think in ways that don’t represent who I really am. I get a little less tolerant of people and every once in a while, my patience totally gives way to some erratic outburst – totally unbecoming a child of God – much less one who has been seminary trained. I don’t pray enough in the workplace; or ask for divine guidance. Oh, I know that I am blessed and that God is with me, but it is important that I petition the Father before I make decisions – not after…
Tonight, I happened to pick up a catalogue from one of the Christian book companies that I periodically purchase from. Believe it or not, just thumbing through the pages brought me to a place of peace and comfort. It’s been a while since I have looked through the book offerings – and you know what? I miss it…
So, as I sit here writing, glancing at the catalogue next to my computer, I think it is time to re-dedicate myself to staying closer to the Father and to His Son, Jesus Christ. Reading the volumes again that line my shelves and immersing myself in the Word are great places to start. Perhaps I should even dust off the Greek and Hebrew books and get re-acquainted with the ancient languages – I miss that also!
And when I see myself starting to fall into the rhythms of “regular” corporate America, I need to pick up the phone and get re-connected with my classmates and other dedicated Christ followers. I’m much better, and happier, when I’m in sync with God. The verse for this evening is Heb. 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Kind of convicting, don’t you think?
My encouragement this evening is to affirm that God wants a deeper relationship with me, and also with you. That means we have to spend more time with Him… My prayer is that you will always remember that you are a child of God and that He wants the best for you – and we all know that following the ways of God can be challenging and difficult. But the rewards are worth the effort – and who wouldn’t want to be a shining example of leading a God centered life? Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…