I was at the check out of a bookstore today and found myself in the middle of a rather amusing conversation. The customer behind me was looking for a particular product and, while the clerk was finishing my transaction, she asked the clerk where she could locate it. The clerk gave directions where to look, and when the customer found the location she began giving more details of what exactly she was hoping to find.
“Don’t you have any in a six pack? I was hoping to find them in a six pack- because who doesn’t want a ‘six pack,’ right!” *snicker*
The clerk looked at her, completely unamused, and replied in all seriousness, “A lot of people don’t really want a six pack.”
This is where I had to refrain from snickering. I realized the confusion (I’m not convinced the customer put it together). I had gotten her little joke, but apparently, the clerk did not.
The customer was referring to the type of “six pack” one develops when the abdominal muscles are toned and built up. I’m pretty sure the clerk thought she was referring to a six pack of beer- that just has to explain the look on her face.
So here where the three of us, all standing in a silent moment of awkward. I wanted to laugh, the customer was confused, and the clerk was rather unamused. So I left. Well, not quite that abruptly, but almost.
As I drove away, I began thinking through that little conversation. It made me think about how often we try to communicate something but end up misunderstanding one another. This seems to especially happen when it comes to faith. There are times when we are in conversation with one another but we have completely different definitions and meanings to the words we are using. This is what makes it so important for me to know how to explain what I believe- and why. When I am talking about my faith, it is not enough for me to assume the other person in the conversation understands all my words. I don’t want to end up in an awkward conversation when it comes to that which is so important to me…
Just a little thought.
I hope your journey through Engage the Word is going well. I know it can be very busy and it’s easy for reading scripture to get pushed out of your day. But one of the things I continue to realize is that listening to God through scripture is one of the key things that keeps me focused through the busyness of life.
Here are the passages for this week and below are a few questions for you to think about as you read this week:
Monday: 1 Kings 2:1-3:28 (Give your servant an understanding mind)
Tuesday: Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd)
Wednesday: Psalm 51:1-19 (Have mercy on me)
Thursday: Proverbs 1:1-4:27 (Trust in the Lord)
Friday: Proverbs 16:1-18:24 (Commit your work to the Lord)
Saturday: Malachi 1:1-4:6 (I am sending my messenger)
Sunday: Matthew 13:1-58 (The Kingdom of heaven)
What stands out to you as the “big idea” from this passage?
What do you think God wants us to learn from this passage?
Does this story or your discussion change they way you think, or what you knew, about the Bible?
What is Jesus teaching you from the Engage the Word passages?
Last year our denomination started a journey/emphasis called Engage The Word. A generation or so ago, it was a general assumption that most people in our society had some sort of basic understanding of Bible stories. But that is so not the case any more.
The best example of this reality that I have experienced happened a couple of years ago. I was at a children’s event for our local churches and the emcee of the event was trying to fill time with the kids while we waited for the next part of the event. To fill the time he was asking trivia questions based on Bible stories. I don’t remember the actual question (it had something to do with women in scripture) but what I really remember was watching the clash of cultures. He expected the kids to recognize that Delilah was a name from scripture but they were clueless. Finally he said, “Don’t any of you know about Samson and Delilah?” One kid spoke up really loud, “I know Delilah from the radio! ‘Hey there Delilah what’s it like in New York City!'” These kids had no clue that there was a person in scripture named Delilah and the poor emcee was floored. (I’m also really sure he had no idea that the kid was referring to the Plain White T’s song, but that is just my guess.) I think this was the first he realized he could not expect Bible stories to be common knowledge- even among “church kids.”
In a way, Engage The Word is in response to this realization. We especially don’t want people who are in the church to not realize the amazing accounts in scripture! So we are going to spend the next 40 days as a congregation moving through some of the major stories from beginning to end. It is so important that we realize (and remember) what is in scripture. God tells the people of Israel countless times to “remember.” Scripture helps us remember what God has done, realize who God is, and reflect on what we are called to do and who we are called to be as God’s people. So if you have never gone from “cover to cover,” I invite you to join us! It’s going to be a great journey. Below are the passages for this week. One passage for each day. I look forward to remembering, realizing, and reflecting with you!
Monday: Genesis 8:1-9:17 (Noah built an alter)
Tuesday: Genesis 11:1-9 (Let us make a name for ourselves)
Wednesday: Genesis 27:1-28:22 (A place called Bethel)
Thursday: Genesis 37:1-36 (They took Joseph to Egypt)
Friday: Genesis 45:1-46:7 (I am your brother)
Saturday: Exodus 3:1-4:17 (I am who I am)