We all have done it. If you haven’t, you must have been born on Mars or the Moon. This past Sunday afternoon I did it again and I’m sure it will happen yet another time in the not too distant future. As many good Christians (tongue in cheek) do on Sunday afternoon, my wife, Hudson, and I, along with our dear friends from India decided to go to “King Super Buffet.”
Yes, you guessed it: one of those gigantic Chinese buffet restaurants that seems to have every sort of grade B and C and D food product available from Costco and GFS. This place was particularly crammed tight with people because it just so happened to be Father’s Day. After we finished packing ourselves with all the decadent mounds of fried, deep fried, oven fried, and grease bathed chicken, beef, pork, and other items of questionable nature, we all took a deep breath as we got ready to swallow the only healthy item on the table – fortune cookies!
I passed them out one by one and everybody cracked them open to see what piece of the future they were holding in their hands. Those who got really great “fortunes” raised their eyebrows and said things like, “Wow…it’s just a fortune cookie… but you never know.” Or, “that is amazing; this is a really good one.” For the rest of us, we just rolled our eyes and remarked at how silly the whole idea was, and how they were nothing but randomly printed pieces of paper thrown in stale cookies.
Just as I swallowed the last crumb, I had a thought. So many times you and I treat God’s Word with a fortune-cookie kind of practical theology. Just like those who pulled out great quips from the cookies, we marvel at the one verse we found the “other day” that we really “liked”. Yet on the flip side of the cookie, we are also often guilty of just flipping the page when we read something we don’t like or that which doesn’t seem to jump off the page with relevance – or so we think. That sounds an awful lot like those of us who took one look at our cookie slip and tossed it in the garbage, while muttering about the ridiculous nature of even reading it.
The only problem with this picture is that the Bible is not a big fortune cookie with multiple fortunes to be enjoyed or tossed out according to our liking. Sure, fortune cookie slips probably belong in the garbage can. But do we essentially find ourselves doing the same thing with God’s Word? It’s hard when the Lord commands us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. It’s hard when Christ promises not earthly pleasure and ease, but trials, tribulations and even death for the cause of His name. Still further, do we flip the page or “check out” when the Scriptures tell us that the world will hate us or that God chastises those whom He loves? I think it’s high time for you and me to take the Bible for all its worth, for it is the very Word of God. Every verb, noun, adjective, pronoun, adverb, preposition, and article – it’s no fortune cookie. It is the Word of Life.
What do you think? Let’s start a mission to find all the “hard” verses in the Bible for each one of us and then apply them. For real. Right now.
Here’s one for me to think about: “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)
And here’s a little reminder of the inestimable value of each page of God’s Word: “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17).
Originally written on June 23, 2010 by Michael J. Breznau