Over the holidays, it seems like the number of jigsaw puzzles that get put together increases exponentially. I am not very good at putting together puzzles. My attention span is a bit too short for a 1000 piece scenic view puzzle. However, occasionally I get sucked into one and I find myself enjoying the challenge.
You have probably noticed that there is a new table in the bulletin listing a Read Thru the Bible in a Year plan. I believe that goals and resolutions centered around getting into the Word are vitally important which is why I decided to start our year with this tool that you can use to keep you on track.
I have recently been challenged by the similarities between reading the Bible and putting together a puzzle. As we begin with the puzzle, we start sorting the pieces based on where they will likely fit into the bigger picture. Does the piece have sky, barn siding, grass, a tree, etc. As we read our Bibles, it is helpful to determine what type of material we are studying. Is it Poetry, Proverbs, Gospels, Psalms, History, Law, or Epistles? We will want to read Poetry with a different mindset than we would Epistles. The reading plan in the bulletin allows you to read some of each of these on a weekly basis to give you variety and a broader view of the whole Bible.
There have been times when I am working on a puzzle that I am sure I have the right piece, but it just doesn’t seem to fit. My natural tendency is to go get a scissors and carefully trim the piece so that it fits where I think it should go. We must be careful that this is not the approach we take when reading God’s Word. Allow the Bible to speak truth to you rather than trying to find a way to make it say what you think it should.
As the puzzle begins to take shape and we start seeing more and more of the bigger picture, it is always exciting when we have those aha moments. Oh, that line in the middle of this piece of green is part of a shepherd’s staff! Or, this is the ear of the donkey! When we focus so intently on one piece and fail to look at the big picture, it is almost impossible to really understand the context. When reading the Bible, take time to look at the surrounding pieces. This may bring a valuable perspective to the passage that has you stumped. Consider the author, the audience, the time in history, or world events during this time. What is the truth that the author is really trying to convey?
Don’t try to do the puzzle alone, they are no fun unless you have “family” around, helping you find the difficult pieces. Jump up and celebrate when you start seeing a truth that you hadn’t noticed before. The rest of us want to celebrate with you. Ask a friend to help when you are having trouble in a specific area.
My prayer for each one of you is that you will have a year of aha moments as you focus on the Word. As things begin to come together, and the picture takes shape, we can understand more and more about the heart of our Father.
Blessings to you!