IF YOU BLOW IT...KNOW IT & OWN IT!
Word Pictures in the Bible: When Scripture Comes to Life
What's the FIRST THING YOU THINK when hearing someone say, "You can't POSSIBLY make it all the way across that bridge!" You think HOW to cross that bridge.
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As summer started, I failed. Hard. Face to pavement hard.
As children we read (or have read to us) picture-books...we begin our lifelong journey or learning through visual cues - we LOVE pictures and illustrations. As adults our 'love' morphs into our commitment toward spending hours watching 'moving pictures' (aka: movies); we even order based off pictures in restaurant menus. In fact, we even buy things based on billboards/magazines/commercials before/during/after we scroll through Instagram. But with all this adoring admiration of imagery, we're still left with the fact the Bible doesn't have pictures. Come on Paul! You wrote like a DOZEN+ books that were preserved for ALL time, and you couldn't give us a selfie-sketch or even doodled what people told you Jesus looked like? It's cool Big Paul. The point is: The Bible IS full of "word-pictures!" Have you ever heard that phrase thrown around? Do you know what it means? I didn't as a young Christian.
Here's a word-picture from yesterday: I was hanging out in the waiting room of a mechanic's shop while they did the voodoo they do. For ~90 minutes I sat there pleasantly and quiestly studying my surroundings, pretending the only thought on my mind wasn't when I was going to be able to leave. The employee at the front desk (a really smiley animated fellow) and I began making that type of "we're the only 2 people in this building" small talk. He left briefly for his lunch-break and came back complaining about not catching any fish as he finished chewing a beef-jerky stick; so I asked him how his break was? He replied, "Meh, fine, had some jerky and part of an orange...got skunked at the lake though!"
I had no idea what he meant by “skunked” - so rather than admitted I had no idea what he was talking about, I asked with a sympathetic yet confident tone (like I knew what I was talking about, LOL) "OH man, you got sprayed by a skunk?" He looked up from his computer screen, not sure whether to laugh politely at my joke-attempt, or take me literally. He went with the correct, latter. "Oh, no... I didn't get sprayed, I just meant I didn't catch any fish at the lake behind the church up the road." He went on to describe the pond nearby where he frequently takes his pole usually coming up empty handed for his efforts even though he "runned-and-gunned" around the ENTIRE perimeter of the pond's shore until rushing back to work.
2 things stood out to me in a big way immediately, and even more so NOW:
The clear WORD PICTURE illustrated clearly albeit unknowingly by this pleasant gentleman contained the GOSPEL message in a microcosm! I instantly tucked my phone under my thigh so I didn't appear distracted as he went on. This guy who was lost (according to his profane speech and some unrepeatable topics of conversation that flowed as other mechanics came-and-went) was acting out our call as Christ-followers and apostles to be FISHERS OF MEN. He had very limited time during his lengthy day to stop and eat...but rather than focus on feeding his body physically, he chose to recharge his mind emotionally with a reprieve around a pond, casting/winding the fishless hook back in over and over -- ignoring defeat and simply soldiering on until the clock ran out (much like our clocks are constantly ticking-down, both as individuals and as a race-of-men speeding toward the day of Judgment). He NEVER once stopped to question his perceived wasted time/effort, or the fact he wasn't seeing ANY reward (fruit) from his work (witnessing/evangelizing)...because in his mind and heart it wasn't work (well-doing) for him to become weary in…it was a pleasurable reward warmly welcomed in the middle of his otherwise mundane redundant joyless day...His PERSPECTIVE was transformed, not his circumstances!
He sacrificed food (much like the Biblical account encouraging us to forsake our own rumbling tummies and physical needs in order to SEEK OUT and bask in God's Word/presence) simply to enjoy his chosen hobby of love. Without proclamations of our "love," it’s plain to see what/who we truly LOVE by how we "spend" our most valuable/limited resource: TIME. This guy who was busy answering phones and deflecting verbally insulting customers, willingly chose to throw a hook into a lake with NOTHING to show for it, and he was HAPPY about it. His entire demeanor was enhanced upon his return. And aside from a beef jerky stick, his tummy was still empty. So rather than driving through one of the countless fast-food joints surrounding us…he made CHOICES and took action to pursue what he perceived as necessary and worthy for his peace of mind.
HOW then is it that our NUMBER ONE EXCUSE as Christians for NOT diving nose-first into God's Word every day, is that we're TOO BUSY!? Are we TOO BUSY to eat!? Do we go 3 or 4 days in an extended "accidental" starvation, until we realize "OH YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT! I'M ABOUT TO PASS OUT FROM MALNUTRITION!" Of course not! We prioritize and structure our days AROUND the immovable chunk of time reserved for eating...when the fact is, taking time to eat and sleep isn't fixed and guaranteed at all, we just segment our 24-hours every day as we see fit and personally profitable.
This all worked together for good even in the midst of my failure to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, because ultimately the scenario displayed how many opportunities we HAVE (if we're looking for them) and how many we MISS or fail to take action upon (we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take). While I could have convinced myself it was all good because I didn't engage in the cuss-word + dirty-joke filled chats in the waiting room, I also didn't present any encouraging or Jesus-inspired speech into the mix either. I was a guilty bystander and passive onlooker by God's measure and expectation, and totally UN-profitable in His economy/kingdom. A lukewarm Christian…someone to be spit out by God; lazily content with Christ in my OWN hear...as the world around builds up God's wrath and head's rapidly toward an unknown final breath and eternal separation from their Creator!
We should follow suit and be joyful to serve and shout the goodness of Jesus, no matter what the risk or reward ratio. We should cast our hooks out time, and time, and time AGAIN -- no matter how insane the world might think we are, the TRUTH is ALL MEN have God's presence and calling written upon the tablets of their hearts and seared into their conscience! Our fear (and sometimes reality) of the backlash from people when we share the Gospel is because THEY GO TO GREAT LENGTHS TO AVOID THE TRUTH OF GOD, AND FINALLY -->THEIR ACCOUNTABILITY TO HIM. They have hardened their hearts.
ONE word FROM YOU might be the 101st WORD in a long line of faithful witnesses expressing the love, law, and SAVING redemptive power of Christ to them! We should glorify God in ALL manner of speech, thought, and action...not just when it seems convenient. Count it a privilege to suffer ridicule for Christ's sake.
Have patience. No one goes "catching"...they go FISHING! Cast your nets Christian, be diligent, disciplined, and deliberate in your strategy for soul-winning. A silent Christian is just taking up room on the shore. Be real to reel them in.
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