I was raised Roman Catholic so even after all these years attending Baptist churches, carrying a Bible still isn’t ingrained in me.
For a while there I did well, toting to church a King James version with big-type that my wife bought for me before we were married. I had a few other copies of The Good Book, one for Dad’s comes to mind that my wife got for me before my daughter was born and another called The Evidence Bible, with commentary by Ray Comfort, a guy I sort of consider a street-fighter for God.
Still, the battered King James was my church Bible and much to my shame, I’d not cracked it or brought it with me to church in way, way too long. Today though, I just had a strong urge to carry it to church.
But, I had no idea where it was. Shameful.
I ended up peering under my bed and there it sat. That sort of implies that my Bible was easy to spot but that’s totally untrue. I had to push aside some books on knights and chivalry, and magazines on handguns along with rule books and magazines about war gaming to even glimpse my Bible in the flashlights beam.
Seeing it there with all my other interests pushing it back, back, back made me feel small and silly. I smooshed myself under the bed and reached for it but, no good. It had been shoved back so far by all my other reading material I couldn’t get a grip on it.
Frustrated and feeling pretty sheepish, I wandered out to the living room, turning off lights and getting ready to go. And away to church we went. Me, without my Bible in hand.
And of course, after singing and the offering, our pastor invited those of us who had a Bible to hand to open it and turn to Chronicles, chapter 4, and we started to talk about Jabez.
It was a good sermon. And I took notes, something I don’t usually do – I tend to enjoy just listening and trusting my memory. I take notes for a living and doing it when I listen to my pastor makes it seem more like work. This morning though, I kept thinking of my Bible, under my bed, just out of reach.
As we strolled out to our car after church I confessed to my daughter I’d gotten slack and needed her help to recover my Bible. On the ride home my wife tried to make me feel better, noting I’d been reading scripture more often online these days.
It was sweet but I still felt like a walking, breathing, object lesson who just stepped out of an After School Special. Short of having an angel pop in and tell me in a voice like a trumpet I was putting my hobbies before God, I can’t image a lesson any plainer.
As soon as we got home we made our way to my bedroom. The girl, wisely, had brought a walking stick she loves that has a hook-like handle.
“Really dad?” she chided as I shined the flash light under the bed and she slithered under far enough to reach my Bible with her stick.
When she snagged it and dragged it out into the light of day, it was covered in dust. I mean covered.
I thanked the girl and carried my Bible outside, sat on the bench on our front porch in the sunshine and dusted it off. I paged through it, looking at old drawings my daughter had done years and years ago that I’d saved, old church bulletins that were thankfully a little less ancient, odd hunks of paper I’d used for bookmarks here and there.
Then I opened it to Chronicles, chapter 4, and read about Jabez.