In recent news, a unique item was discovered inside a book gifted to the Sacramento Public Library. This particular library does of wonderful job of recycling books for the purpose of recirculating them on their shelves, repairing and giving new life to gently worn materials. Each year thousands of books are given new life.
The mystery began as one such book somehow made its way to the donation center, mixed in with all the rest. It looked like all the others, a bit tattered and worn, but within its pages held a veiled mystery of a unique nature. The book made its way to the restoration process in preparation for it to be placed on the shelves for circulation. As the pages were opened, 31 signatures were revealed on the inside cover. After a little research, it was quickly discovered that what they held in their hands was a signed copy of the Bible with 30 names of players plus the manager of the 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. The library knew they had something special when they saw the words “Pirates 1953” at the top of the list. Names like Ralph Kiner, Joe Garagiola, Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson were signed in the book.
The mystery remains as to how this Bible found its way into the hands of the Sacramento Public Library.
The Word, Jesus Christ, is filled with mystery as well, often surprising us by popping up in the most unexpected of places … in a stable, on a cross, out of a tomb. Within our busy schedules this same Word comes close at the most unexpected of moments … in a conversation, on a bus ride, at a meal. As God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — works through these everyday moments, His constant desire is to bring about a growing and thriving faith in our hearts. As the Word made flesh, God has chosen to reveal Himself through Jesus Christ as a compassionate, loving, and missional God who cares deeply about those on the fringe: the lost, the broken. Surprise again! And in the biggest surprise of all, this humble Shepherd of grace, justice, and truth, willingly climbed a cross for us, taking upon Himself our sin and shame (1 Peter 2:24-25).
This is good news; no mystery at all! For the believer, God has our name written in the Book of Life, and if we were to look at the top of the page it would say something like, “Purchased and redeemed!” The truth is, this book still has pages to be written, with generations waiting for someone to share with them the grace and truth about faith and life in God.
So the question is, “Where are you GROWING in God’s Word?” Are you in some form of Bible study whether on Sunday morning or during the week? Are you personally being stretched to mature in your faith? God’s challenge throughout scripture to keep growing in our faith is clear, not out of some compulsion, but out of a desire for relationship. Ponder this mindblower for a moment: Our Heavenly Father “wants” to spend time with us through His Word. Now that “is” a surprise, but a wonderful surprise indeed!
Listen to the words of Paul mentoring a young pastor named Timothy about the importance of being in the Word:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Through these words Paul is encouraging Timothy, and us, to be in the Word. The Bible has the power to not only speak into our lives but to bring about maturity and a life of significance for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. Being in the Word changes us and our perspective in how we live in and view those around us. Immersing ourselves in the Bible brings about maturity and discipleship growth, pointing us not only toward our eternal home but to our missional call to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20).
We are about to enter the season of Lent. As we begin this journey, I challenge you to join me in spending time in God’s Word as we immerse ourselves in the final week of Jesus’ earthly life and the difference this week makes for us today. The Gospel changes lives! Period! May we live in this Gospel, allowing its grace to drench our lives so completely that people seeing us want to know about this hope God has gifted us.
As we enter Lent, may you know the deep love of the Heavenly Father. May you be filled with the Spirit’s earth-shattering power and grace as He grows you in your faith journey. And may the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, splash over every part of your life to draw you more deeply into Himself.
Word of God, speak!
Surprised by His daily grace,