I have a confession. Now, don’t recoil in complete shock, as if you were bitten by a rattle snake, when I tell you this. I warned you. It will be “honest” and maybe even a little “brutal” – hence, “brutally honest”. Ok, here goes.
The truth is, when I woke up this morning I…
did not feel like reading my Bible…at all. On a scale from 1-10, I was what our Spanish speaking brethren call a “zero” (Yeah, same word in English and Spanish…you just have to roll your “r”…zerrrrrrro.) Now I know that some of you may be thinking, “Can a pastor do that? I mean is he supposed to openly confess something like that? I thought pastors were spiritual superheroes?” Well, whether I’m supposed to or not, I just did. And as for being a superhero, I hate to disappoint you but I don’t even own any spandex (and I have no plans of ever owning any). But all that aside. No jokes, no façade, no mask to hide behind…let me say it again, I had no desire to read God’s Word whatsoever when I woke up.
Now, this raises an obvious question, “Why?” Well, there are plenty of options. It could’ve been that I stayed up too late last night mindlessly watching pointless TV shows and still had a media hangover this morning. Or, it could be that I foresaw how much I had “to do” on my plate today and spending time reading my Bible would keep from “doing” those good, important “ministry” things. Or it could just be that I was being flat out lazy. (Yep, ask my wife. That’s also true sometimes.)
So I sat down at my desk here at church with a closed Bible in front of me, a full list of “ministry things to do” next to it, an inbox of email screaming to be replied to, and a heart that was somewhat cold and indifferent. So what did I do?
I read my Bible anyway.
You see, I learned years ago that, as Jeremiah said,
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah 17:9
Now, when the Bible speaks of our “heart” it includes our will, intellect, and even our emotions (though it is primarily the first two). And this morning the emotional/willful part of heart was being “deceitful”. It was mentally whispering to me “Ah…you’ve got too much to do today. Don’t waste your time. You can just regurgitate the spiritual leftovers from the past week and feed on that. Besides, you went to seminary…you’re a pastor for goodness sakes.” I hate my deceitful heart sometimes.
So, that’s why I decided to ignore it and listen to God’s Word instead.
And boy am I glad I did. A few verses into Amos (which is difficult enough to read and understand on its own), my heart was still cold and indifferent, and I almost decided to give up and move on to other “ministry” things. But as I began interacting with the words of God something happened. I started asking questions of the text, extracting the meaning, personally applying it, and immersing myself into the passage. And my weary soul was awakened from its stupor, my parched mind was refreshed, and like the Psalmist my soul shouted, “How I love thy law!” I was fed – and it was good.
Lessons from today:
1. Don’t trust your emotions. Trust God’s Word.
2. Doing good things is never a substitute for doing the right thing.
3. Try being brutally honest more often. It keeps you humble.
4. Don’t ever make plans to by spandex, ever!
So, word to the wise. If you wake up tomorrow (or if you just woke up today) and you don’t feel like reading your Bible, here’s a tip: Read it anyway.