There are two kinds of people in the world: Shoed and Barefoot! Everyone in my family loves to go barefoot and they have the callouses to prove it! I prefer to go “shoed” and I have the ‘smooth feet’ to prove that! I like the comfort and protection that an old pair of shoes offers to my, otherwise, tender feet. I once had a pair of loafers that served as my “anywear” shoes…lounging, going to the store, running to the mailbox, strolling through the mall…I could wear them anywhere…and I did! My sister-in-law would always ask if I slept in my shoes…well, what if I do? So what!
Sadly, my leather topsiders began to lose their souls soles and I had to throw them out. There was a small funeral, a brief eulogy and a burial under a shrub in the flower garden. Ugh! Breaking in a new pair – still trying!. There is a lot to be said for the familiar, the comfortable, the reliable. These things become the best gifts of life and are often enjoyed for their memory as much as for their reality – the summer weekends at grandma’s cabin, aromas from the kitchen at Christmas time, cleansing rain showers in mid-spring – these things endure, they inspire, they provide solace.
When my Great-Grandpa Keddy died in 1975, Grandma gave me his old Scofield Bible. As a 10 year old, I did not fully appreciate the value of the notes and comments Grandpa had scribed in the margins. However, as I grew older, I began to add to his notes and found that this relic from the past was becoming my guidepost for the future. Forty plus years later, I still pick up Grandpa Keddy’s Bible and carefully thumb through the pages. The pearls of wisdom and lessons of truth that have been immortalized on its pages come back to life and give me both memory and direction. His Bible has become familiar, comfortable, reliable.
In an age of multiple translations, Pew Bibles and Power Point Slides, I think we have lost an important element of our faith. God’s Word is meant to be woven into our daily experiences, our final decisions, our first consideration. Moses told the people that they should bind them as sign on the hand and write them on the door posts (Deuteronomy 6:8-9). Are we any different? Should we not have such a familiarity with God’s Word that we find ourselves driven back to its pages every time we make a decision or come to a fork in the road?
Let me challenge you to re-think how you approach your copy of God’s personal letter to you:
Bring your own
The next time you go to church, take your own copy of the Bible. Don’t rely on the Pew Copy or the overhead screen. See what God has to say in your OWN copy of His letter to you. When the pastor/speaker gives a reference, look it up. It’s good to check his ‘reading ability’ and it is helpful to see the words yourself.
Invest in Quality
Find a copy of the Bible that will endure many years of wear and tear. Grandpa’s copy was genuine leather and that has allowed me to continue to use his Bible for over 35 years. With that long-term investment comes an accumulation of three generations of wisdom. I cut my teeth on the King James Bible but now I prefer the New American Standard Version, but the New International Version is another good one to consider.
Mark up your Copy
Don’t be afraid to underline. mark up and write notes in your Bible. The day will come when you are discouraged, depressed, lost in your faith. Looking back through these notes will encourage and motivate you to grow in your faith and share these lessons with others.
Transfer your notes
When you replace your Bible, spend some time transferring the notes from the older Bible to the newer one. This will remind you of all the lessons God has taught you over the years and it will allow you to add to those valuable truths.
- Set an Example
Graduation, wedding, birth, anniversary…these special moments can be your chance to offer the greatest gift of all. Consider giving a good quality Bible as a gift. Write a personal message in the front cover with a verse that has impacted your life.
I have not found a pair of topsiders as comfortable as my originals; and I have yet to find a Bible as comfortable as Grandpa’s. But I continue to add to the notes and look back at the lessons that he penciled in the margins and every time I look through Grandpa’s Bible, I feel as though I have been re-souled.
Open Mic: Share your thoughts
- Do you have a Bible that holds special meaning?
- Will you commit to finding a copy of God’s Word that you can call your very own?