A Stuffed Duck
What’s the single most valuable thing you have? What would it take for you to give it away? Who would you give it to? Who would you NOT give it to?
Brother Gearl told us the story Sunday of a young Romanian orphan whose most valuable possession (in fact it was her only worldly possession) was a raggedy stuffed duck. One day she gave her duck away — to a member of a mission team whose enthusiasm and eagerness to share God’s love for her overwhelmed her. That little girl found hope in God for her life because of the enthusiasm and eagerness of a mission team member.
How enthusiastic are you about the Gospel? How valuable to you is God’s Truth?
When folks usually think about enthusiastic people, they think of the people they know who are positive and talkative and full of life with a bubbly personality. But enthusiasm is not based on our temperament or personality type. True enthusiasm is based on our surrender to the Spirit of God at work in us. Enthusiastic people express energy and eagerness about what God is doing in their lives.
Some folks say it’s hard to be enthusiastic when the world is falling apart. It doesn’t matter, however, if life beats you over the head now and again. But those down times should not take away who we are in Christ. If we allow our circumstances to define us, the enthusiasm and eagerness we have for the Gospel will dissipate. Jesus speaks of that condition as “salt that loses its saltiness.” (Matthew 5:15) If we lose our enthusiasm for God we’ll walk away from sharing that enthusiasm with others.
Think about it. Did you go on a diet back in January? How’d that work for you? Are you still on the diet? If you walked away from the diet, it’s because you lost your enthusiasm for it and the eagerness to see it through. The same is true about us if we lose our enthusiasm and eagerness to share God’s Truth and discover what His Truth is.
Have you read God’s Word today? Did you read it yesterday? Will you read it tomorrow? Do you get excited about opening up God’s Word and ask God to speak to you there? Do the things God shows you make you eager to share what He showed you. If you read God’s word with enthusiasm, if you’re eager for God to speak to your heart about your life at the moment, His Word will open the door to discovery and direction. I have found this to be true: The more I read God’s Word the more I learn about myself. God’s word will speak to you exactly where you are in life. How we look at God’s word will absolutely guide our life.
The Apostle Paul encountered a group of believers in Berea who were enthusiastic and eager to learn all they could about God and His truth for them. Paul opened the Scriptures to them and taught them the true Gospel and who Jesus was. The Bereans were eagerly seeking God’s truth for them. Read how Paul described them, they were “more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11. And what was the result? “Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of Greek women and men.” v.12.
Here’s how the Bereans studied their Bibles:
” They were eager and enthusiastic about what they read.T hey had a personal desire and recognized the significance of God’s word. And as they studied they realized the awesome potential for the Word to transform their lives. Bible study for them was probably the high point of their day. They probably put off other things they had to do so they could read their Bibles. They probably kept their Bibles open and in a prominent place in their home. Reading their bibles was certainly a priority and they looked forward to reading it.
” They examined the Scriptures. They didn’t just read their Bibles, they “examined” them. There’s a reason we call it “Bible study” and not “Bible reading.” Think back to your school days. When you studied for a test did you merely read the chapter? Or did you review your notes, look up terms you didn’t understand, ask classmates questions, re-read parts that may not have made sense to you? That’s examination. Or did you simply read the chapter the night before the test? Which method resulted in a better grade for you? The Bereans studied their Bibles. They read and re-read. They thought about what they were reading. They probably hid as much of God’s word in their hearts as they could.
” They examined the Scriptures daily! If you started a diet in January and fell away before February, you were not disciplined enough to lose weight. The diets I’ve tried challenged me to be persistent and dedicated to following the diet daily. The Bereans were dedicated to studying their bibles daily. They persisted and developed Bible reading habits that enabled them to develop core competencies in their lives
Now think about how you read God’s Word. Are you eager for His Word? Do you look forward to getting alone with God and asking Him to show you His ways and speak to your heart?
Do you examine the Word? That doesn’t mean reading. That means checking footnotes and cross referencing verses with other verses in the Bible. That means meditating on verses or passages you read. That means looking up unfamiliar words. That means reading related passages. Doing all of it to lay your heart open for God to show you His truth and teach you His ways.
Do you read God’s Word daily? The key to this entire story about the Bereans is that they pursued God’s Truth daily in His Word.
Why not take a few moments to read how the Bereans studied the Bible. Then compare their Bible study with your own. Are you the least bit eager now to make some changes? Did the Bereans inspire you to become more enthusiastic about the way you read the Bible? Why not pray now and ask God to speak to your heart about how He’d like you to read His word.