Sitting on an antique piece of furniture in my living room is a baby sized, white, leather bound New Testament Bible. On the inside flap it reads, it says "Presented to Becky Turner January 29, 1965 by First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg." Even as I write this tears come to my eyes as I ponder the fact that what has become a treasure in my life was available to me from the moment I took my first breath of air (January 29, 1965 is my birthday) and for 27 years I never sought it out. What is so unique about me still having this little Bible is that I am not the least bit sentimental and I tend to purge more than I hoard. However, I have always had a healthy respect for the Bible but to think that it held everything I needed for life and godliness? Give me a break. You see I grew up in church. For many years, when the doors were open we were there – Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and every night of the annual spring revival. Dad served a term as chairman of the deacons. My parents taught a Sunday school class. The church used our swimming pool as the baptism until one was built at the church. We participated in marathon gospel hymn sings and I even broke my arm one Wednesday night while doing a cartwheel in the church's courtyard. But going to church and doing all the activities does not translate into a transformed life if the Bible is not a part of one's day-to-day life. The Bible had been a small part of my life but I never cognitively came to the understanding that the Bible - God's thoughts, written by man, inspired by the Holy Spirit, condensed into 66 books - could have such a huge impact on my life.
Well, at least no personal impact on my day-to-day living. The Bible does impact us at a corporate level because so many of the laws of the United States were founded on the commands of the Bible. Who doesn't want to live in a society were stealing, killing and even lying are not punished by the governing authorities? But to think that this book that was written 1,000s of years ago, could help me live my life today was a foreign concept.
For me to study the Word, memorize the Word, apply the Word, to believe the Word, to take the Word as being the final authority on life in my own personal life, no way. It is just another book, right? Like Aesop's Fables or the Koran or the Old Farmer's Almanac - a book with stories, guidelines for living and some sage wisdom.
I remember many Sunday mornings searching for my Bible before church and then remembering that it was right where I left it last Sunday - the back seat of my car. And there it was - a little sun bleached and full of the previous weeks bulletins because I never picked it from one Sunday to another. It just sat there...waiting...not being used...available but ignored as I went about making decisions based on man's wisdom and my own experiences. Until this decision making lead to a wreck of my life and finally, as I came to the end of myself, I reached out to it.
See next week’s blog for the rest of the story.