Last night my wife and I were home alone for the first time in quite some time. We ate in our backyard, which has grown to be a forest over the 15 years we’ve been in Seattle. With steaks, mushrooms, green beans, grilled onions, and a bottle of wine, we ate together. We spoke of the past weeks; graduations, kids moving home, kids moving out. We spoke of the future, of our marriage, of growing older. The sun sets through the leaves of vine maples, while birds herald the close of the day with their doxology. It wasn’t some sort of spectacular evening, but it was very memorable.
And then there were the rest of the meals since the last memorable one. Some of them were taken alone, some on the run, some as a family but without the leisure of lingering. You don’t get sunsets, lingering, and marvelous presence and conversation every single time you eat, or at least I don’t. Still, we show up at the table. We eat, and though it’s not necessarily memorable, good things happen. Nutrients are broken down in the digestive tract and absorbed into our bodies, giving us the strength to do all that we do.
It could be argued that the memorable meals have more value than the forgettable ones, and at a level that would be true. On the other hand, try limiting your eating to only those moments when you have the leisure of cooking fresh ingredients, setting a lovely table, and lingering long beyond the last bite, enjoying layers of conversation as the candles burn low and the wine glass empties. If I only ate then, I’d never eat, because I’d be dead by now. The common meals are vital because they sustain us and make the profound meals possible.
All of this is important because, as my friend Nancy points out, we need the same mindset when we approach reading the Bible. There will be days when our Bible reading is utterly forgettable, sometimes two or more days in a row. That’s no reason to quit though, because the truth is that those days have a sustaining effect of which we might not be aware, just like I can’t tell you right now what I had for lunch yesterday, or for breakfast Monday, but I know it was important. II Corinthians 3:16-18 tells us that if we just keep showing up, we’ll be transformed. The transformation, on any given day, might not be quantifiable, memorable, or stirring. It will though, like Monday’s forgettable breakfast, be valuable.
What are you habits, frustrations, successes, questions, hesitancies, when it comes to Bible reading?