I have been meditating on Laura’s comments on the Church Alive post, that people don’t practice personal piety anymore. I am pretty certain that doesn’t apply to those of you who are readers of this blog, but sadly I fear that it does apply to a lot of people in our congregations.
How sad that the regular practice of the Spiritual Disciplines is treated by some as unimportant. These are the very things that connect us with God. These are the very things that teach us who God is. These are the very things that teach us what we can expect from God. These are the things that enrich and fill our lives.
The regular practice of reading Scripture for example, will often yield those little gems of God’s revelation that we may never have thought of…and which are often not even preached about. Yet as we read and meditate on Scripture they can fill us to overflowing with insight about who God is for us and who we are to be for God.
Take the story of Mephibosheth for example. Mephibo-who?
As I was pondering Laura’s words of personal piety, I remembered a time when Iris Ford, the deaconess in our area who came frequently to the congregation where I was a young adult to teach us about curriculum and the art of teaching Sunday School. I remember one time she was saying that anyone who had received a “good Christian education” would know who Mephibosheth was. I left that discussion quite pleased with myself because I knew who Mephibosheth was…. aah the arrogance of youth.
It only dawned on me as I was pondering personal piety and the importance of practicing it, that knowing who Mephibosheth was had far more importance than merely knowing the story. Knowing this story and about his relationship with David (major clue here) is one of the early clues as to why David was a man after God’s own heart. Why? Because David, like God, was someone who keeps promises. We learn about that important part of David’s character only if we know the story of Mephibosheth.
Keeping promises is an important part of our character as well. Promise keeping is a sign of integrity. Promise keeping is a sign of living God’s love. Promise keeping shows that we are those who take our commitments seriously.
When we read Scripture, meditate on it and pray over it, we learn about God and about ourselves. What we read may not bear fruit for years, but God promises that his word will never return to him void, so we know the fruit will happen in due season. And then we learn something else about God, not only that his promises are true and that he keeps them, but also that he never stops working to make those promises true in our lives.
What about you? What have you learned from God’s word that bore fruit for you many years later?
Whatever it is join me in thanking God for his mercy and goodness and his wonderful timing.
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