Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Neon or Eternal Flame?

Neon or Eternal Flame

With few exceptions, I rarely watch a movie twice. When a favorite television show comes on the air, if it’s a rerun episode, I’ll walk away. I already know whodunit. If I’ve read a book, it’s finished, conquered. Why would I have to read it again?

Some may find that habit shocking. It’s not that I don’t believe I gained all the art had to offer the first time around. I know I missed things. I understand there are layers yet to uncover.

Maybe it’s because I’m a poster child for the theme, “So many books. So little time.”

I cling passionately to one major exception to my once-is-enough theory. God’s Word, the Bible.

Over the course of my life, I’ve opened the covers of the Bible an estimated 18,000 times, give or take. Sometimes a snippet from the middle or a few chapters near the end. Sometimes for the purpose of starting at the beginning and reading a little everyday until I’ve read every blessed word. I’ve read in chronological order a time or two. I’ve read by subject matter—poetry, prophesy, practical helps, psalms…

It’s moved me every time. If it doesn’t move me, I read until it does. And it always does.

For a person who is not a rerunner, I find that startling. And the only explanation is that the Bible is exactly what it claims—the LIVING Word of God. It is alive, sharp, powerful, and unlike any other book. It is not so much words on paper as it is Divine Breath and Whispers and Embrace.

This morning I reread a passage my eyes have seen multiple times in those 18,000 revisits. Why did I not connect deeply with this message before?

In II Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul discusses his approach to ministry, adding a rebuke against those who focus on “having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart before God” (5:12, NLT).

Ooh. Neon or eternal flame? What’s my goal?

The tasks on my to-do list now must pass inspection. Is this an effort designed to make my ministry more spectacular or my heart more sincere?

Where do I want to sparkle?


Kristy Dykes said...

Thought-provoking post. Thanks, Cynthia. Oh, I sooo want to be an eternal flame, not neon.

eileen said...

Not a flash, Lord! Help me to illuminate.