To Mark It, To Mark It

     Yeah, so I have been suffering with blogger’s block. My brain is so overloaded that when I try to pull out something good, everything else just falls down on top of me (like a game of Jinga). But lo and behold, I am cured! I hooked a memory with the fishing pole of my mind.

     I remember the last time Barry Black preached at my church and one of his anecdotes really stayed with me. He recounted how he was asked to preach at a young man’s funeral. He did not personally know the young man so he asked the decedent’s mother for his Bible. You see, In order to tailor his message around a person, Barry Black would skim their bible for notes, highlights, underlined portions or what have you and be able to determine what was going on in their life. He could tell who had overcome or who was struggling and with what. Amazing right? It makes sense to me. Someone who is going through a divorce would likely hold different Bible text dear to them than someone who has overcome drug addiction. Someone who is world-weary may note many of Jesus’ promises while someone who is learning who God is may have a lot of Favorites from Psalms.

     In any case, Pastor Black said that this young man’s Bible was brand spanking new. Yes, that can mean a few things; the youth simply took great care of his Bible and did not want to write in it, there was another Bible he used heavily (not the case here), he rarely opened it or he never even cracked the seal (unfortunately, this one is true). So, what was the pastor to do? I cannot remember that clearly but I think he made his sermon more general and addressed the audience as well.

     My mom has a beige Zondervan KJV study Bible and of course, I wanted one too (the commentary and diagrams are awesome). When She bought one for me, I just put it on my shelf (for safekeeping). It was too perfect and I was too much of a klutz to handle it. When I started taking the Bible more seriously and studying I decided it was time to pull it down. Even for all my “protecting” my favorite bible was damaged by the fluorescent lights of mi casa (the cover has this ombré thing going on, very trendy). Then still, I handled it delicately. Well, I got a little more comfortable and started with penciled tick marks, then asterisks, then underlines, and then (oh my goodness) PEN!

     Now I use pen to circle verse numbers, asterisk chapters and I even dog-ear pages (butter me up, I’m on a roll). Barry Black’s sermon changed the way I looked at my Bible. If someone picks it up, what will they learn about me? Could some tell how important the gospel of Matthew has been to my study? Could someone see how Psalm 92 and 119:105, 114 or 2 Chronicles 7:14 strengthen my faith? Could someone see my hopes for the future in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. Could someone see my daily walk in Matthew 22:36-40 and Palm 19:14? Could my struggle with putting God and his word first be seen in Ezekiel 24:15-27? Could how much I value God’s law be gathered from Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5? Is my love for God obvious, observable and evident? I certainly hope so!

     Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of us who keep their Bible in pristine condition (admirable in its own right) but there is something just as impressive about a well-worn, marked up Bible. What if I left my Bible somewhere and someone who is indifferent to its contents just picks it up and flips through it. Odds are pretty good that their eyes will fall on one of my asterisked verses and they may even read it. I will have witnessed or testified without saying a word. Who knows, that could be a life changing moment for someone (just saying).

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