In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Binding Judgment.”
- Got a lot to get done – make a list.
- Not sure what steps to follow – make a list.
- Want people to read your post – write a list.
I am a person who likes to make and follow lists. Lists help me stay on task, ensure nothing is forgotten, keep me organized. Many years ago I was invited to a “Woman’s Retreat”. I was not exactly sure what that was but I was a mom with three very young kids and the prospect of a week-end away with NO, kids, cooking or laundry sounded amazing. Besides that I liked the woman who invited me, it sounded relaxing, it was not costing me anything, why not?
Fortunately for me, the invitation included a list! A list of all the things I should bring to the “Retreat”. Most of the things were pretty obvious: clothes, medications, shampoo, toothpaste, sleeping bag – oh yes, it was a camping retreat so a pillow was also on the list. The last items on the list were a pen and notebook. Guess they expected me to listen and take notes at some point.
The next to last item on the list made me frown – a Bible. Now this was not unexpected since it was a “Church Women’s Retreat” but it was a problem; I did not own a Bible. What to do? Follow the list, go to a bookstore, acquire a Bible – easy!
The bookstore had more Bibles than I had ever seen. Bibles with leather covers, covers in all different colors, study Bibles, different versions of the Bible (there’s more than 1 version?), paperback Bibles, large print Bibles – racks and rows of Bibles – who knew? But, Bible was on the list, end of discussion.
I did not want to make a big investment here. I just needed it for this week-end, I was not planning on using it much after that. Since I am also an experienced shopper I knew that in every supermarket the cheaper items are always on the bottom shelves so I figured that would be true for the Bibles. Score! The bottom shelf had the “generic”, plain and cheap old Bibles; no study notes, no fancy covers, mostly black, fake leather and cardboard.
I chose one that was about $6, not too big, with a cardboard cover, plain dark brown, gold letters, Holy Bible – thats’ it.
The week-end was nice, the ladies were friendly, the food was good and the games were fun. I returned home to the kids and husband and laundry and cooking and cleaning. The Bible sat on the shelf.
The Bible seemed to be on the “Things to Take to Church” list so I began to carry it with me on Sunday mornings; everyone else carried one. I took it off the shelf every Sunday morning and put it back every Sunday afternoon; my plain, cheap, brown Bible with it’s gold letters. I started to read it but I don’t recall when, I do remember trying to figure out how the stories I heard as a teenager seemed so different from what was actually written in my Bible. The stories I read in the Bible seemed so much more complex, deeper, full of meaning than what I remembered. I began to read the Bible more often. I fell in love with Jesus.
Now, many years later the cheap, brown cardboard covered Holy Bible is back on the shelf. You probably wouldn’t even notice it there among all the other, more colorful books. Some of the pages are falling out. Some of the gold lettering is worn away. Many of the pages are full of notes and markings, sections are underlined and marked with yellow and pink highlighters. Notes, cards, names and dates are written on both the front and back flyleaf. I don’t bring the cheap brown Bible to church any more because it is now too fragile and precious to me.
The words printed inside, on the pages of my cheap, brown Bible, and the God who wrote them, changed my life for eternity and I am eternally grateful. You cannot judge a book by its cover.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Psalm 119:89
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. Psalm 119:103
Your word is a lamp for my feet. a light on my path. Psalm 119:105