Wednesday, April 02, 2008
A Must Read "Preface".
Around the year 892 B.C. four starving lepers outside the besieged city of Samaria came to a desperate choice. If we stay here, they reasoned, we will die. If we go into the city, we will die. If we surrender to the enemy, we will but die, and there is a chance we will be spared. So they walked out to the enemy camp.
When the arrived, to their amazement, they found it deserted. An entire army had fled in panic from an imagined enemy leaving all their provisions behind. As the four hungry lepers went from tent to tent helping themselves, they remembered the starving people in the city. "We're not doing right," they said. "This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. Let's go at once and report this to the royal palace." (see II Kings 7:3-9, in the Bible)
From early childhood on, I knew and loved the Bible stories such as the one just related. I could recite in perfect order the books of the Bible. I knew the parables, the miracles and the theology of my church. But there came a time when I discovered things in the Chrisian camp that disturbed me. By the time I became a young adult, disillusionment in some areas had raised the flag of doubt over it all.
At that point in my life I did not want any more Bible stories or sermons on church order and prophesy. I wanted to know the basic message of the Bible and I wanted to know if it was true or not. I remember sketching an imaginary threshing machine that would separate the main points from the details. I wanted a machine like that. In the course of thinking and dreaming, I decided that if there really was an underlying message in the Bible, I should be able to identify it, outline it on a 3 x 5 card, and scrutinize it point by point. I was afraid to examine the Bible for fear that it would not stand the test, yet I knew that in order to truly believe I had to run the risk.
I like the story about the lepers. I can identify first of all with their fear. They took a chance and so did I. I can also identify with the wonder that they felt. They came to a camp that a lot of people had abandoned and found treasure. Finally, I know exactly what they felt like when they said, "We're not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves." God has enriched my life with joy, peace, direction and a satisfied mind. Things like this should not be kept secret. Furthermore, half the joy of wonderful discovery comes from sharing it.
(The rest of the preface is a brief personal note to his customers. He is a truck farmer.)
This is the preface of a book my pastor gave to me the next time he saw me after hearing my testimony of finally finding and then getting to know the Lord. Very encouraging thoughts I felt. Now I'll read the rest of the book.
It's called Ecology and Beyond.