Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Read, How to Hear

My friend and I hit the YMCA down the street from us every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at o-dark thirty.  One of the funnier things that comes out of that is the music selection in the workout area.  To their credit (at least in my opinion), they play Christian music.  To the music station's discredit, they rock it out old school.

When I'm bench pressing, I don't want to hear My Father's Eyes.

Context matters.  Nothing inherently wrong with that song, although it was ruined for me by umpteen preteens and teens in camp talent shows.  Hearing that song is fine.  It just doesn't fit while I'm working out.

In the same way, there are times when I read the Bible that I don't get very much out of it.  Please don't tell anyone because I'm a pastor and I probably shouldn't say things like that.  The secret needs to remain between you and me.

So when that happens, here's what I try to do.

First, I need to make sure I'm spending enough time lingering so that I'm not in a rush.  Small kids make that hard sometimes.  Attention-demanding smartphones do too.  But that's a good starting point.

Second, I try to make sure that I'm genuinely open to reading and hearing from the Lord.  Sin makes that hard sometimes.  So does approaching it as a duty.  Both require repentance.

Lastly, if I can get past those two and it's still bone dry and Saharaesque, one of the things that it's good for me to remember is the Now and Later principle (or at least that's my name for it).  Some things I read are for Now and pierce me to the core or call me to pray or encourage me for this moment.  Some things I read are for Later and should be mulled over and thought about but not applied until the context is appropriate.  My Father's Eyes doesn't necessarily fit every context.

It's the same way when hearing a sermon.  Not every word from the Lord is for this moment.  Some are for moments to come.  One of the marks of maturity is learning to hear from the Lord and hold onto that word until it's ready to bear fruit in a situation.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

1 comment:

  1. Excellent point. I'm always surprised (don't tell anyone, I'm not supposed to be surprised by this) when I recall a Scripture in a given moment and it fits perfectly, even though at the time I read it, I didn't get it.