A Book

Psalm 119:14-16

“I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your preceptsAnd regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.”

Have you ever had that experience when you become immersed inside a book? When your brain just begins ignoring all else expect it’s apparent preoccupation with a story. In that situation, your entire being somehow is transported to another world. All else dims as you step into a tale and become friends with the characters.

Eventually, you have made judgements and opinions on characters in a book as readily as you would if you had met them on the street. Not only to you see these characters, but you react to them. It is a complete immersion.

The thing about this envelopment inside a story that I have just described, is that it represents an incredible parallel to our lives. We forget all else because we are focused on the story. We ignore things we may usually be annoyed or perturbed by because of the story. Our minds continuously question and turn over recent plot developments, new situations, and interesting fact about that story. In some cases, I simply watch as my siblings lose interest in everything else when they are listening to a cool audiobook.

The parallel I mentioned starts with this quote:

“Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo
Ipse domi stimul ac nummos contemplar in arca.
(The public hiss at me, but I cheer myself when in my own house I contemplate the coins in my strong-box.)” -Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

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Yes. I have been reading Sherlock Holmes. Originally, my older brother had compiled a book list for my Christmas break that we would complete and then Skype about our thoughts. We did not get very far through the list. Needless to say, I read my first Agatha Christie book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. It was a Hercule Poroit novel, and I quickly became obsessed with these ‘detective’ characters. They fascinated me because the apparent brain-work that they complete is so entirely opposite of my own brain.

This all led me to looking into the most famous sleuth of literature, Sherlock Holmes. However, the question I was left with at the end of A Study in Scarlet is this:

What are the coins in your strong-box?

Do you rely on a relationship? An achievement? Maybe a job? We all have those strong-boxes hidden away in the depths of our consciousness. Just like when we become immersed inside a book, and our thoughts are preoccupied with it, so we should be immersed in the Bible. How often do our minds become preoccupied with God’s statutes?  When do we react and become friends with the people in the Bible?

Honestly, I can’t say I do this enough. I go to books for fun, and somewhere in my brain, I do not seem to put the Bible in that category. If that is right or wrong I do not know. I do know, that I do not think on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) 

Sherlock describes a man’s mind as an attic, in which you can cram what information you deem necessary. He goes on to say that fools put whatever they find into their attic, and when they go to find something truly important, they find it cluttered with rubbish and filth. A wise man only puts in what is a necessary tool for his line of work.

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Do we put our ‘necessary tools’ inside our attics? Are we actually spending enough time on the important things instead of the things we do not need? It is a difficult question. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having ‘fun’. But when our fun intercepts our thoughts and causes us to swerve off God’s path, then we get a nasty reality check.

The Lord has given us access to everything we need. I heard a story on the radio. A father was trying to convince his son to work harder at school. His son had failed a class and did not show any signs of trying to do anything differently. The dad, going up to his son told him, “If you don’t do well in school, you won’t be able to graduate, then you will not go to college. Then you will end up as a hired laborer digging ditches somewhere.” Taking this approach, the father told his son this same line four times in the same week.

At the end of that week, after the father had once again given him his spiel, the son looked at his dad and said, “I’ve heard you say that a couple of times and I’ve been thinking about it. If I end up a hired worker digging ditches but love God, will I still be okay?”

That question really struck the father. You see, it doesn’t matter what we do in life, what career we get, how many awards we accumulate, how much money we have, or how successful we have been. In the end, the only thing that matters is if we loved God and loved our neighbors.

Be blessed today.

 

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