Good Wednesday morning! Ah, yes! The first Bible study of the season has arrived... or at least it will tonight. What has happened to the men over the summer? Will the pastor have to point out the more obscure books like Matthew, Genesis, and Revelation for us to find? The summer was long; will some of us need help with the big words near the front like 'holy' and 'bible'? After a long layoff, any of us can feel a little dull, like our sharpened edge has flattened just a bit over the months away from the group. We might even forget our own names when that first quiz paper arrives!
In my daily life I have found the Bible to have real sticking power in my mind. However, questions like, "What was the last lesson about way back in May or April?" might find me in some difficulty. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that I have a Bible in the truck right now. On the other hand, taking time off from something can indeed make the thirst greater. If you don't believe me, try taking a couple of days off from drinking liquids. We'll see how much greater your thirst is then! Just kidding; please don't do something silly like that.
We have heard the old saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder". But that doesn't work well in Bible study for everyone. If you believe in Jesus and the Spirit resides within you, then yes, you will feel a need grow greater from not studying the scriptures. However, for those who do not believe, walking away from the Bible can have dire consequences. Even for the believer it is not good to spend very much time away from our daily Bible study and reflection. The Holy Spirit does write God's Word on our hearts and He does remind us, but there is more to be written! If you were in need of money and you stumbled over a treasure chest mostly buried in the sand, would you take only a coin or two and then stop, thinking, "I need much more, but this stuff is a burden to carry!" Of course not! You would take what you needed and then have to fight off the greedy urge to try taking what you didn't need as well, and then even some more after that. We are not to feel greedy for money, but when you open your Bible feel free to get greedy for the Word!
That analogy isn't completely out of bounds. The Word does place a burden on our hearts. As we take from the treasure of God's Word, we find a burden for praying for others growing on our hearts. We may find a burden for doing good works. A burden for the suffering of others and of our own trials may appear in our hearts. We may even study the prophecies and find that the future is a tough burden to carry. Like a disease or injury getting worse before the healing is done, the world is going to suffer much before Jesus makes it all new again. That knowledge is a burden for us to carry. Praise God that you and I do not have to carry that burden alone! If we go back to the treasure example, imagine Jesus showing up with a hand cart just as you realize the chest is too heavy for you to carry alone. Well, now the burden is indeed light!
Praise God for His wonderful Word!