Gaylord Kambarami, the General Secretary of the Bible Society in Zimbabwe, tried to give a New Testament to a belligerent man who insisted he would roll the pages and use them to make cigarettes. Mr. Kambarami said, “I understand that, but at least promise to read the page of the New Testament before you smoke it.” The man agreed and the two went their separate ways.
Fifteen years later, the two men met at a Methodist convention in Zimbabwe. The Scripture-smoking pagan had found Christ and was now a full-time evangelist. He told the audience, “I smoked Matthew, I smoked Mark, and I smoked Luke, but when I got to John 3:16, I couldn’t smoke anymore. My life changed from that moment on.”
God’s word is like that. It is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword and able to penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit. It is God-breathed, and so it is helpful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. And, it is life-altering and transformative, when you make the decision to be more than hearers of the word, but doers.
According to a Barna survey from a few years back, almost every household in America (92 percent) owns at least one copy of the Bible–with the typical count being three Bibles per household. I would imagine the typical Shelby Crossings family has more than double that.
Yet, according to Barna, less than four out of ten adults (38 percent) read the Bible during a typical week. The saddest part is the study revealed that there’s little difference between how much those who call themselves Christians are reading the Bible and those who don’t. You might as well be smoking it if you’re not reading it.
As we study the New Testament epistle of James this fall–in our Life Groups and in our Sunday messages–I hope you will make the concerted effort to spend time daily in God’s word, allowing His truth to renew your mind and transform your life. James consistently reminds us of the value of “the word” and how God uses it to change us from the inside out. Be assured, your growth as a disciple of Christ will only go as far as your commitment to His word. Please don’t neglect hearing it, reading it, meditating on it, or obeying it.
I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.