Spring: A New Beginning
By John T. McNeal -
Spring is a just a stone’s throw away; only a brief moment in time separates the long, harsh, wet winter from the sweet smell of fresh flowers, daylight savings time, and Easter dresses. Of course you would never catch me in a dress, though being of Scottish heritage I might consider a military pleated kilt with all the fixings. (But who would want to see my snow white legs?)
If someone were to ask me what I am looking forward to doing this spring, I would probably give the usual sort of answers: spring cleaning, exercising, cutting the grass, turkey hunting and outdoor grilling.
I’d like to challenge all of us to think deeper than this, in order to get a God perspective. On January 1 people all over the world try to gain a new point of view on life. They generally add in the proverbial “New Year’s resolution,” in order to help them improve their lifestyle or situation. Usually the resolution revolves around eating and or exercise, mostly less of one and more of the other. How many people exercise only their bodies and allow their spirits and souls to starve?
By now you are probably asking, “What do New Year’s resolutions have to do with spring?” A lot, as by now most people have forgotten all about this year’s resolution and have returned to their old eating habits and sedentary lifestyle. Yet they are still starving their souls and spirit, and not paying attention to the important things in the world around them. There are those of us who call ourselves Christians, but have not even once picked up the Bible and read it all the way through.
At the beginning of this year, my pastor at Chestnut Mountain Church wanted us, the members of the church, to become more spiritually minded. He challenged us to read the New Testament in 30 days and to go through a time of praying and fasting. I can honestly say that it was a very enlightening experience. It was a great in-depth introduction to someone I call my Lord and Savior.
I really had to set a few things in my life aside in order to reach my daily reading goals of around six to ten chapters. It reminded me a lot of being back in college. To help me stay on task I listened to a Bible on CD that corresponded with the version I was reading, thus hearing and reading the Living Word at the same time.
When I told one of my friends what I was doing, he exclaimed that he really liked the idea, but would have problems keeping focused. He likes to spend time researching the nuances of individual passages of scripture. That is a good way to study the details of the Bible, but reading it straight through is a good way to gain the big picture. Then once a person has been introduced to the overall framework of God’s written Word, it will be easier to understand the context of each passage within that greater whole.
As Easter gets closer, along with the spring showers and May flowers, how about planning your own new beginning this spring. As the barbeque grills start to ignite across this country in order to feed the body, stop for a moment in your daily life and feed your soul.
Challenge yourself and your best friend to read the whole Bible within a certain time frame this year. As Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV) says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Try to meet once a week to discuss what you have learned. Try something different this year and stick with it. It can help you when it is time to make those difficult life decisions.