When it comes to the Bible some Christians seem to fall to the concept of “can’t see the forest for the trees”. That is they concentrate so much on the words they totally miss the underlying messages. Some, at the drop of a pin, can quote chapter and verse for many of the sayings in the bible. I am definitely not one of those people. Yes, I have read the New Testament many times and when prompted I can cite some of my favorite verses but I spend the majority of my time looking for and trying to follow the messages contained in the words. I do not idolize the words themselves or the document that contains them.
When I was an information technology engineer more than a decade ago we had a famous saying and that was “drowning in data but starved for information”. Given today’s technology it is not difficult to accumulate massive amounts of data but turning that data into truly useful information is where the value come in. That is where the true talents shine; I can say I had some successes in that area of my career.
I am currently reading a book by Richard Stearns entitled The Hole in the Gospel. This book is mainly about the forest/tree syndrome. Jesus’ opening words to his three-year ministry are contained in Luke 4:16. It is always available on the right side bar of this blog but I will repeat them here
Luke 4:16-20 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
It is interesting that as his first words he chose to talk about the poor, prisoners, handicapped, and the oppressed. But these are not by any means the last words he said in this area. The Gospels are overflowing with this message. I believe that Jesus was years ahead of all of us in that he gave his mission statement up front and center at the very beginning of his ministry. This is the Christian forest. Here is a quote from the above referenced book:
The Gospel Jesus described in Luke 4 is indeed something solid. If there is a hole in our gospel, in our understanding of the nature of God’s call upon us, His followers, it is not because Scripture is unclear about those issues. Rather it is because we have chosen to pay little attention to God’s unmistakable message to bring the whole gospel to the whole world….
Don’t spend your life obsessed with the words of the Bible. They are just words. Make it your every effort to glean the underlying messages. There are a couple of saying that help me do that:
Keep your eyes on the prize
Just give them Jesus, everything else is just small stuff