Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Spiritual elbow grease

Two men approached the village water pump. The first man slung down his bucket with a thud. He seemed annoyed and aloof. He jerked the pump with a scowl and soon snatched up his bucket, sloshing half the water out in the process.

The second man then approached and placed his bucket with care. He grabbed the pump handle firmly. He began to pump steadily and vigorously, and a smile spread across his face as the vessel filled up with cool, fresh water.

These two men describe the two ways we can approach God’s Word, our “fountain of life” (Prov. 13:14). Many people read the Bible and listen to preaching with a sense of duty. They put little joy or effort into it, and get little out of it. They’re glad to just check it off their list and move on to other, “more important” things in life. They really can’t understand why anyone would make such a fuss over spiritual things.

Others take time to enjoy the Word of God. They love to read it, to study it, to drink deeply of it. They can never seem to get enough. They cherish their times of fellowship with the Lord, and walk away refreshed and satisfied.

It’s amazing that the same book can produce such different results. Some people love it. Others tolerate it. some even revile it. Only the Spirit can give us that hunger and thirst for righteousness, and open our eyes to the truth of God’s Word. But we do need some good, old-fashioned spiritual “elbow grease” if we expect to reap any benefits from the Bible.

Holiness does not arrive by surfing the net and checking baseball scores. Christlikness is not produced by watching sitcoms and crime dramas. It takes hard work, pumping the Word of God into our lives. We must discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). Yet all the while, it remains a labor of love.

Why not put more effort and joy into your time with the Lord each day? You may just be surprised by the results.

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