Scripture can seem boring or out of touch with today when read. The words and phrases don’t always fit with the way we express ourselves. It can seem hard to understand. It can also seem like the same old stories we already know. If we are willing to wrestle with scripture, it can be so much more.
I was asked to give a message at my home church. I was excited. It had been a couple of years since my last time in the pulpit. Pastor let me know that the summer series was on the parables. The parable he sent me for my message was the Good Samaritan. My first thoughts were of Sunday school and flannel graphs. The story seemed boring, old and over used. So, I prayed. I asked God to renew the story within me, so it would be new for others.
33-35 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:33-37 NIV).
God took my prayer seriously. He took this story that seems so straight forward and showed me it was so much more. I pulled out an old book that shows the parables from the Jewish context. I was reminded that placing the story back in its historical context brings a new layer of richness. The Samaritan was the good guy in this story. Jesus wasn’t welcome in Samaria, yet he chooses a Samaritan as the hero. Hmm.
One of my take aways from the Jewish tradition is the idea of becoming a neighbor. This sent me into a tail spin. What was I doing to become a neighbor. How was I extending grace and mercy in difficult situations? This was more than doing nice things for people in need. The Samaritan risked becoming unclean when he went to the man on the side of the road. What was I risking? I began to wrestle with scripture again.
The scripture became alive again. It had more depth, more intrigue. It stirred my soul. It challenged me. It was no longer the flannel graph story from Sunday school. Sometimes it’s digging into the context of the story that brings new life. Sometimes it’s learning the meaning of a word in Greek or Hebrew, and sometimes it’s looking at several chapters or books together to see a larger picture that brings new life.
It’s on me that scripture became complacent. A simple prayer changed all of that. I believe it’s a prayer God loves to answer. As He molds me, stretches me, it’s important to wrestle with scripture. It’s important to let God stir in my soul. Will you join me?
How is God using scripture to stir your soul? Share your story here and breathe life and bring hope to others.