22 May
Posted in: Listening to God
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Do Not My Words do Good?

20140523-180458-65098266.jpgYesterday at a prayer meeting, I witnessed God in the sanctuary and beheld His power and His glory, Psalm 63:2. No, I didn’t see Christ arrayed in light, but I did see Him at work, ministering to a visibly distraught sister who asked us for prayer.

Another sister loved the Word enough to have memorized all of Psalm 139 and so the Lord used her knowledge to minister to the distraught sister. She held the tearful sister’s hands and prayerfully recited Psalm 139, using the her name frequently throughout the prayer. So, for instance, Psalm 139:5 sounded like this, “You have hedged ‘Cynthia’ behind and before, and laid Your hand upon her”. It was a picture of true religion, and it was priceless.

Later I learned that my friend who recited Psalm 139 will be participating in the 2014 Bible Bee this summer with her children. Bible Bee is a competitive bible memorization contest designed to help families teach their children the importance of bible memory work. I’ve never considered doing that sort of thing because I always wanted my children to desire the Word for the riches within the words themselves, without the complication of a cash prize involved.

But my friend had spiritual tools I longed to have, and I long for my children to have, and I know those tools don’t come magically, but with a lot of good old fashioned hard work. And hard work is just what a Bible Bee offers. My children are 7 and 9 years-old. For their age divisions, they would be expected to memorize one verse a day, five days a week, for the summer months just to qualify for the Nationals in the Fall. To have a chance to win the prize at Nationals, this Fall they would need to memorize approximately eleven verses a day, five days a week. That’s some serious hard work!

This morning I read an article about the Bee to get an understanding of what we would committing ourselves to. A comment at the end the article made me think perhaps this format wouldn’t be the best for my children. It was written by someone who used to be heavily involved bible bees as a kid and now felt negatively about them, saying they kept her from other pursuits. Others had some negative comments that I considered worth reading. The world hypocritically pounces on Christians when money is involved in our activities, again, the cash award incentive tends to complicate things.

Awhile ago I read about a group of persecuted Christians in Burma who memorize a tremendous amount of scripture; a typical believer having memorized between 150 to 200 verses. They do this simply out of love for the Word, and perhaps fear that the authorities might someday take their bibles from them. These believers make about $1.50 a day. This is another picture of true religion.

Are my children going to do the Bible Bee out of love for the Word, or for the money? I can tell you my children love the Lord, but I can also tell you they wouldn’t have the same ambition level were there no prize involved. Sad, but real.

And yet, yesterday I witnessed the beauty and power of the memorized Word at work, ministering to the church body. I had personally witnessed the real treasure of the memorized Word, and I want my children to also experience that power, cash prize or no cash prize. So rather than make a decision based on a comment from a disgruntled girl, and the ranting comments from a hypocritical and critical world, I continued to pursue the Lord about the matter in prayer.

20140523-180145-64905137.jpgThe Lord graciously answered my questioning with a question for me. Immediately after reading the comments and then prayerfully considering the pros and cons concerning the Bible Bee, I providentially opened Scripture to Micah 2:7. So the first words I read this morning were “Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly?”

Praying more about the matter has led to the decision to register for the Bible Bee with an agreement from my children that if they should win, 50% of the money would cheerfully be given to the needy. This leaves plenty for a 7 and 9 year old to waste on stuffed animals and candy. This agreement, made official on paper signed by them, gives me assurance that I am training them to walk uprightly, with purity of heart.

In the world, monetary reward usually succeeds hard work; in biblical terms, we reap what we sow. Keeping the other 50% is an appropriate reward for the faithful workman, and a job well done. Purity of heart, and reaping what we sow; I am thankful that the Bible Bee is providing an amazing opportunity to teach our children both of these very biblical principals in a tangible way.

So, what do you think?