…and in that law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
In his book Eat This Word, Eugene Peterson says that word “meditates” reminds him of something he saw his dog do in the Northwest woods where they were living. One day his dog dragged a huge bone up to the house. Clearly, it came from the carcass of an elk or moose, he said, and that little dog had certainly not brought the animal down. But that pup sure did enjoy that bone.
What the dog did was to gnaw on it day after day, eating it away little by little. Sometimes, the canine would bury the bone under leaves and later dig it out and resume its worrisome process of ingesting that huge bone. Eventually, he had consumed the entire thing.
That is what the believer is to do with the word, Dr. Peterson said. Think about it, consider it from every angle, take in all he can today, then lay it aside for the moment, only to bring it out later and gnaw on it again until it has become his.
Two groups can be found in every church: those who enjoy being prodded into thinking and those who insist that their spiritual food be predigested so it goes down smoothly.
My observation is that only the first group will grow spiritually. The unthinking group is content to remain spiritual infants.
The unthinking member demands simple sermons, easy lessons, no gray areas, all Scripture interpretation to be neat and orderly with no room for differences of interpretation, and no challenges to his beliefs, his position, his world.
The unthinking has a difficult time with Jesus. Our Lord refuses to abide by their demands, just as He did with every group He ministered to in the First Century.
The pastor’s challenge is to move members of the second group into the first category–to show them the delights of reflecting on God’s Word, thinking about His message, studying their Bible lessons, and then to incorporate God’s truths into their lives.
Consider this example.
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered that way?‘ (Luke 13)
The Lord proceeded to answer his rhetorical question with a “No, but unless you repent, you too will all perish,” but clearly, He wanted them to think about this.
“Do you think?”
Then, stressing the point, Jesus called to their mind a similar tragedy with an identical truth. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? (Luke 13:1-5)
Well, Lord, pardon me, but…well, you see…we don’t actually like to think about these things. Can you just lay it out there in black and white and we’ll simply quote you and run along.
Sorry. He refuses to play into our laziness, to cater to our inertia.