How about weak five? The last several days find me weak from frustrations unrelated to reading. There is the temptation to let this slip—which I will not do. I will not do it because some friends and my very sweet mom are keeping up with the readings. Accountability helps.
It reminds me of when I ran with Jo Kite in the mornings in York, Nebraska. I told her I would be out there to run at 6:00 AM at 25 degrees. I could not skip out.
When it comes to reading the Bible—I have long thought it is not that we have the obligation or rule that we should read regularly—to fail to read and study is living below our privilege.
I take it for granted that I have the faculties to read and study. I take it for granted that I have many copies and versions of the text at my fingertips. I take it for granted that I have the freedom of religion. I take for granted the awesome nature of the kingdom of God.
From The Message, Matthew 13
Why Tell Stories?
The disciples came up and asked, "Why do you tell stories?"
He replied, "You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it. I don't want Isaiah's forecast repeated all over again:
Your ears are open but you don't hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don't see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
so they won't have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won't have to look,
so they won't have to deal with me face-to-face
and let me heal them.
"But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance. Matthew 13:11-17
I want to embrace my chance.
Peter said in his first letter:
The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing. The Messiah's Spirit let them in on some of it—that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when. All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves—through the Holy Spirit—the Message of those prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this.”
I Peter 1:10-11