The other day I walked out to my car, unlocked it, sat down and noted that my front seat was messier than usual. In addition to the several books, three-ring binders, goldfish snack crackers, mail, makeup, yoga mats, and other miscellaneous items, there seemed to be some broken glass. Where did that come from? I wondered…it took a few seconds for me to realize that the shattered glass had come from the passenger side window of my car…I was a victim of what the police officer referred to as your typical “Smash and Grab”. The officer told me that the person walked by the car, saw something they deemed to be of some great value (in this case a laptop bag–no laptop, just more “stuff” in it) and decided to reach in and take it. They smashed, they grabbed, they walked away with their “treasure” or so they thought. Because of the nature of my bag, I am not sure exactly what was in it…more books, snacks, notes, papers, but I know whatever WAS there was NOT what they had hoped for…no electronics, money, or anything of monetary value. After I got over the initial shock of the whole situation and dealt with my own errors that contributed to it (Note to self: don’t leave anything in the front seat of your car…especially if it looks like a laptop bag), I began to think about the person who smashed and grabbed. Looking into all of the car windows, stumbling upon just what they wanted to see, quickly breaking through the window, grabbing the heavy bag, happily walking away counting their reward….only to find out later that there was no big “score”, nothing to sell…just some notes about how to do Pilates, how to pray for a friend, some business cards, and some trash. Ugh, how disappointing for them!
Then I began to think how I also am guilty of the “Smash and Grab”…yes, that is right, this phrase describes me to a tee..or at least it describes my former Bible-reading method. Knowing that the Bible contained “treasure” for me, I would often peruse the index looking for key words that I thought would help me find what I wanted/needed from the Bible: “thirst”, “hunger”, “strength”, “hope”. Sometimes I would “score”, I mean after all, the index is there for a reason. But that is not the “smash and grab”…you see, other times, I would peer into the Bible and find a verse that “fit” what I wanted to hear. If the surrounding verses didn’t seem to be what I wanted, I just smashed through the passage and grabbed the verse I needed…ignoring all others. I would run off with my little verse thinking I had just what I wanted, only to feel disappointed when I did not find the “treasure” I had hoped to have.
I think sometimes we are all tempted to use the ‘Smash and Grab’ method when reading God’s Word… I want to hold on to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” but want to avoid “being content in all circumstances.” I want to tell women I counsel, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.” Yet, I fail to discuss the sacrifice involved when we “seek first the kingdom of heaven.” I want my children to “Honor your father and mother.” But how often do I follow the command that parents, “do not exasperate your children.” (I admit I actually thought this was a typo in my Bible…’wasn’t it supposed to say “Children don’t exasperate your parents”?) And…this is the doozy…. I am the queen of wanting to remind my husband that God calls him to “be imitators of Christ”…but completely ignore the command that I am to respect, submit and win over my husband ‘WITHOUT WORDS’!!
The Bible isn’t a place where we can go to pick and choose–or smash and grab—what we want and leave the rest. 2 Timothy 3 encourages us to utilize the Scriptures to the fullest:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Yes, we SHOULD look into God’s Word for answers, for treasure. But not the peeking, peering kind of reading. Let us go to the Scriptures with intention, with purpose. Instead of relying on our own-not so carefully selected–passages, we can pray that God will reveal to us where the REAL treasure is for us in His Word. Perhaps what we are looking for is not what we need at all, but God always knows what we need and He will guide us to find it. This will only happen when we go to the Bible seeking the ultimate Treasure–a relationship with God–instead of smashing and grabbing to get a quick reward.