by Linda Veath Cox
My directions weren’t clear. My friend understood my “almost at the end” as “in the middle” and ended up at the wrong rib eye and ice cream place—I had thought there was just one. Of course, I didn’t bring her cell phone number with me. Although it wouldn’t have mattered because when she reached for her cell phone to call me, it was dead.
I walked and drove all over the area. She sat down and enjoyed a rib eye sandwich and ice cream. While I was strolling, pacing, and finally charging up and down the sidewalk past the vendors, she was inside the vendor tents shopping. I gave up and went home. She gave up and went home. And later we had a great laugh about the whole mix-up.
Naturally, I just knew there was a spiritual lesson somewhere in this mix-up. God wasn’t going to let this one “get away.”
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
~ 2 Timothy 4:2 NIV
I certainly wasn’t prepared for meeting my friend for lunch nor did I give careful instructions. If we are going to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we have to be prepared “in season and out of season,” which means we need to know the Word of God. And to know the Word of God we need to read the Word of God. Study the Word of God. Live the Word of God. Then we can share the Word of God. With great patience and careful instruction.
… (T)hey received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.
~ Acts 17:11 NASB
Even though my friend listened to my instructions, she didn’t check to make sure they were right. When we listen to others sharing the Word of God, even pastors, we are to examine what they are saying. And to do that, those who hear the Word of God need to know the Word of God. Which means reading, studying, and living the Word of God. Then it can be received with great eagerness.
While we can laugh at my lunch mix-up, it’s no laughing matter if the truth of God’s Word is mixed up. Whether we are telling it or receiving it, we need to know it. When it becomes our joy and our heart’s delight, then we are prepared in season and out of season to tell and hear.
When Your words came I ate them. They were my joy and my heart’s delight for I bear Your name, O Lord God Almighty.
~ Jeremiah 15:16 NIV