One of the things I tell my boys is that what they say doesn’t always equal what they believe. What they do does. For instance, if they say, “Thrashing my dad in a tactical wargame is my highest priority,” the proof is in what they do. If they’ve broken out the game and are trying different strategies and troop combinations and that is what they spend the bulk of their free time on, then they believe what they say. But on the other hand, if they’re constantly driving around on Mario Kart DS and that takes up a whole lot more time than their wargaming efforts, then they don’t believe in what they said. What is really true there is, “Throwing shells and dropping bananas as I speed and slide my way to victory in a racing game is my highest priority.” What we do shows what we believe. That’s why dad wins the wargame and loses in the racing game. Along those lines, if we say “Christ is first in my life,” but He isn’t first in our time, then we can say that statement all we want, but it’s not really true. And that brings me to the second reason I’ve seen a lot for a lack of biblical literacy: lack of time.
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
– Luke 12:16-21, NIV
The rich fool here was focused on worldly things, mainly his earthly wealth. He wasn’t thinking heaven-ward. And as a result, he was caught unprepared. Verse 15, which precedes these verses has Jesus reminding the crowd that any kind of greed is bad. We often think of greed as a look to have more stuff or more money. But it could also be to have more power or more prestige or a better position in life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting better, the whole thing is where is it in relation to other priorities in our lives? That’s the key. And that goes back to what I say to my sons. If work and TV and hobbies all get time in our lives, but Bible reading and study does not, that says what our real priorities are. Our priority is not Christ, despite what we say with our words. Our actions tell the true tale.
We should have dedicated time with Christ every day, both for Bible study and for prayer. That’s the ideal. That’s the expected. But some folks claim they can’t make this kind of time commitment. That saddens me. But what makes me even sadder is that there is no effort made at all. This is especially depressing considering how easy it is nowadays to do so. There are pocket Bibles you can carry around with you. I have four or five. If a person has a hard time reading text that small, there are plastic magnifying glasses that will do just fine. One of my pocket Bibles even came with one. With our mobile phones that have Internet access, there is always the ability to open up Scripture. And a lot of the phones now have Bible apps. There’s time enough to check the scores on ESPN or update a Facebook status but not enough time to read the Word? Then there is the Bible on Tape/CD. There are some radio stations that read through the Bible by reading a passage for 15 minutes each day. So here in the USA, there’s plenty of opportunities to “find the time” through some means. It’s just a matter of what we want most.
If Christ is our first priority, if He is our first love, then studying His Word will be a priority in our lives. We won’t have to fit Him in. Actually, if we’re thinking along those terms, that’s a warning sign that He has slid down our priority list and it’s time to put Him back in His proper place. We have the time. We just have to make sure we honor it. After all, Christ told that parable for a reason. He wanted to make sure we were prepared. He wanted to make sure our eyes wouldn’t be on earthly things, which won’t stand the test of time, but rather on Him, which will. We don’t have to be like the rich fool. The choice is ours. Let’s honor what lasts forever rather than what’s gone in the blink of an eye.