There’s a drawer in my kitchen where owner’s manuals go to die.
It’s a slow death, mind you, but I don’t think they really mind… They have lots of company in there.
A quick look today confirms the presence of manuals for an eclectic assembly of household items: irrigation system control panel, coffee pot, rice cooker/steamer, lawn mower, crock pot, shower head, carbon monoxide detector, wine refrigerator, cordless telephone – should I go on?
Everything we own requires instruction to some degree. Whether we read the book cover-to-cover first or file it away until malfunction and frustration get the better of us, there is a learning curve when it comes to using our stuff.
Most of the time I’ll use an owner’s manual the day I take an item out of its box. Once it’s set up and functioning properly, though, the how-to gets deposited in the drawer with all the others. Only when a problem arises, like when the coffee sprays out horizontally instead of pouring down steadily into the cup, does the manual see the light of day. Useful for troubleshooting and for finding the manufacturer’s phone number so that I can call and complain about the coffee stains on the carpet, owner’s manuals add precious little to my quality of life. So I hang onto them for awhile, until the statute of limitations for that gizmo or gadget has been reached. Then I throw it away.
A lot of us treat the Bible like I treat my owner’s manuals.
We indulge in a quick read when set-up or learning is needed, but once things are up and running, we file it away on a dusty shelf or in a deep, dark drawer with other things we just might need some day.
Malfunction takes place and frustration sets in, so we take the Book out and we open it up and we look for a way to troubleshoot the problem we’re experiencing. If that doesn’t work, we page through in an effort to find a way to customer service – so that we can complain to the Manufacturer about His faulty product (and maybe get Him to send a new one at no additional charge, because the customer’s always right… Right?).
For many, God’s Word is valued about as much as an Ikea assembly pamphlet, serving a limited purpose and contributing precious little to the owner’s quality of life.
Some would say that God is good for helping us get started, but once we figure out how things work, well – we can take it from here, thank you.
Some reach for the Book in times of loss or in throes of fear and find peace in its pages. At least for awhile.
Others leaf madly through when nothing seems to make sense, searching for a way to get to the top of the chain of command – because we get very tired of being passed through the powerless ranks and being asked for the umpteenth time, “will you hold?”
Do we Want What We’ve Got – the words and presence and heartbeat of God in these pages – or are we simply looking for another owner’s manual that we can use to diagnose and repair what ails us – something that serves us – a user’s guide (as if we can use God to get things to work the way we want them to)?
If what Jesus said to the tempter in the desert is true – that “it is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says” (Matthew 4:4) – then the Bible is much, much more than a how-to book… It’s a game-changer.
It’s meat and carbs and sustenance. Heck – it’s all six food groups!
Without God’s Word we may be walking and talking, but friends, we aren’t living.
Want the Word of God that You’ve Got today – on that shelf, in a drawer, on your personal electronic device – and let it connect you to the Author Himself.
Your life depends on it.
Daily Questions: Where do the Bibles in your house live? What are your reasons for opening up God’s Word? Are you looking for solutions? Instructions? Relationship? Connection? Food?! The Word of God is living and active, not just small print on a page. How does someone read a Book like that? Or does that Book read you?
- Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)