Sometimes we say we love the Bible, but spend more time reading people talk about the Bible than the Bible itself! Sometimes we want to teach what the Bible says, but end up spending more time on our opinions and leave out the Bible. It’s no wonder people sigh with relief when we stick with the Bible. We act as though proximity to God’s Word is life, but proximity is not the answer. God’s Words are living, and we show whether we believe that by how we hear and obey those words. I love God’s Word, and I want to pass that love to my children, to other Christians.
I was learning from Solomon this morning. I’m reading through Proverbs. I smile because Proverbs always makes me hungry: I can’t read about wisdom without wanting it, but it’s like Solomon never tells me exactly what I want to know in clear language. I’m wondering whether he is intentionally holding back in order for me to want more.
With my Bible open to Proverbs 25, I asked my kids, “How do you make someone love vegetables?”
This turned out to be a really great question. I got some good responses, and they understood I was also talking about my attempts to help them love God’s Word. Basking in my great success, I continued to read.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
That’s me, beautiful words. Feeling confident, I talked some more, and then I looked down.
“By long forbearing [patience] is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.”
Huh. That’s relevant, because Solomon is talking about his method of persuasion. Felt a vague pause, like I should think about this verse, but, still feeling satisfied with myself, I kept reading.
“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”
I’ve always seen that verse as primarily about greediness. I can talk about greediness, but I wonder if there’s a connection between those two verses. I’m starting to feel like I can be greedy as a mother/ teacher, trying to accomplish too much at once. Hmmm. I went back to the verse about persuading princes. I don’t always remember that teaching children to love God’s Word is a long-term goal. I sometimes consider a single Bible discussion as a failure if they’re not repentant, vibrant, and Christlike in response to my fumbling words.
Then I look at the next verse.
“Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.”
Hmm. I’ve always just thought of this verse as a warning to not overstay your welcome as a visitor, but maybe it’s talking about greediness, too. Can we be socially greedy?
And I realize that teaching the Bible to my children is like being in my neighbor’s house, at their invitation. I can be spiritually greedy, trying to teach too much in one visit, presuming on their attention. It was time to stop reading.
I pray more these days!