Last night Andy and I yawned through some 2014 goals as we settled into bed. I mentioned that I’d like to read more books (more meaning at least one-what can I say, I gave up reading for lent two years ago and I’m still going strong). He asked me why I have a difficult time reading books (specifically ones with substance) and I said I just too easily forget what I read and then I feel like I just wasted time I could have spent doing other more fruitful things like darning socks or liking pictures on Instagram. Of course my wonderful husband immediately offered a solution, but I interrupted and said, “This is one of those moments where you just need to sympathize and feel sorry for me.”
“Oooh.” he said, “I understand. That must be really hard.”
I love him.
I thought a little bit longer about how it’s hard for me to retain things I read from the Bible or Christian books and chalked it up to exhaustion, having no time, mom memory loss, and trying to tackle the never-ending self reproducing pile of laundry in our bedroom. Then I drifted off to sleepy land not dreaming about things I didn’t read.
This morning we headed back to our home after a great New Year’s with Andy’s family. In the car Andy randomly suggested reading Hebrews chapter 2 and what I read next put a sort of fire under my tooshie that one simply cannot ignore.
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Hebrews 2:1-4
We must pay much closer attention. . . Lest we drift away.
How far have I sailed into my own self? Down my own path? Into my own dissipation squandering my life with reckless abandon?
Many people might suggest that these questions are too extreme; a severe request to pry apart that which looks good and fine in my life (and yours to be honest). But don’t you see? These verses strike at the affections of our heart calling us to quit neglecting such a great salvation; to pay close attention and not forget Jesus Christ who bore our sins on a tree that we might no longer die in sin but live forever.
When I sit and think back over 2013 I see the hand of God on my life. I see a great multitude of blessings. I also see a lot of excuses, laziness, and let’s be honest, mind numbing petty activities that have little to show for themselves (including all those Instagram likes).
I have chosen to set aside the Word of God and at many times, obedience to him for lesser things. I blame my lack of desire and affection for God’s Word on circumstances in my life, but when I really look at these circumstances in light of all the time I’ve spent on Facebook, watching Modern Family or Project Runway, browsing Amazon, crafting, or even making good things a higher priority than God’s word or work, I realize I have chosen to drift away sacrificing the most sacred for the least eternal. (Do you see, I’m not labeling all these things bad-in fact, they can even be used for good, but when they come before Jesus or become a well-fashioned excuse, then it’s time to have this chat with yourself.)
Don’t forgive me if I sound extreme. Because I think I’m being real. Jesus calls us to be fruitful and is serious about it-John 15- Every branch that does not bear fruit he takes away; If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
I’m convinced Jesus isn’t playing around. It’s time for me to stop neglecting his word with such a meager excuse as that of a bad memory.
In Matthew Henry’s commentary of Hebrews 2:1-4 he says our minds are leaky vessels and we sustain a great loss if we do not take this earnest heed of Hebrews 2 to the things which we have heard. We will be great losers if we continue to let them slip, leak, run out of our heads, off our lips, and out of our lives. “This consideration should be a strong motive both to our attention to the gospel and our retention of it; and indeed, if we do not well attend, we shall not long retain the word of God; inattentive hearers will soon be forgetful hearers.”
What happens when you stop paddling in your canoe on a river? The current takes you. You drift downstream. What happens when I excuse myself from reading books and scripture because I just can’t remember things very well? I drift. I forget. And my affection for the world grows greater while my devotion for God grows smaller.
This year I will read more books. I will attend to God’s word and his work. All this through the grace of Jesus and by the power of his Spirit. Because Lord knows, without him I’d just be a facebook liking machine.
And there you have it folks. Happy 2014.