Friday, September 23, 2016

Fine Line

I am not calling for a boycott!  No I’m not calling for a boycott, nor am I decrying the “soulless" state of American big business.  But I do have to tell you a story that I think illustrates a telling sign of the way our culture is gently closing its eyes to reality.

I was on my way to visit someone in the hospital, and I was concerned because I didn’t know if I would ever be able to see this person again after their recovery.  I wanted to leave something with them that could give them true help and comfort in their difficult season of life.  So, I stopped by a “big-box” store in town and went to the book section to see if I could find a gift Bible.  

I found the section I was looking for, and even found a set of shelves marked “best-sellers”.  Try as I might, I was not able to find a Bible anywhere on the shelves of the store—anywhere.  Finally, deciding to break manly tradition, I decided to ask for help from one of the store’s associates.  “Do you have any Bibles in the store?” I asked.  With a shrug, the the store’s employee told me they did not carry Bibles anymore.  She cautiously informed me that they had to “watch out for that fine line…”  What?  What fine line?

I am certain that she was referring to the current tensions in political and religious life in America.  And I am sure that she was doubtful of her own company’s decision not to carry such a significant work of literature, but I was looking in the Best Sellers section for a book that is clearly the best selling book of all time.  There is no thin line between the Bible and other books in print.  The line, in fact, is quite thick!

A December 2012 "Business Insider” article written by Jennifer Polland  cites a startling statistic.  She quotes writer, James Chapman, who gathered a list of the most read books based on book sales over just the past 50 years.  The Bible checks in at an incredible 3.9 billion copies sold in the last 50 years, with the second best seller, “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung” coming in at 820 million.  That’s a difference of over 3 billion books!  Let me put this another way:  if you sold one copy of Mao’s quotations every second, it would take twenty-six years to sell 820 million books.  If you sold one copy of the Bible per second, you, your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be selling Bibles for 124 years!  

There is a reason that the Bible is the most loved and well-read book in all of human history.  The Bible is a book that God wrote by inspiring forty different authors from a variety of cultural backgrounds over a period of about 1,500 years.  It is filled with wisdom, romance, intrigue, prophecy, instruction, and correction that still applies to us today, and all of this serves the purpose of revealing to us the God who made us and loves us!  It tells a broken, sinful and hurting humanity of a God who can heal, forgive, save and empower for abundant living.

2 Peter 1:16, 19-21 says, "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty….And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

These are powerful words for us to admire about the Bible.  I pray you will find your answers in the Word of God, and that you will find hope and joy in the God of the Word!

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