Last night my daughter Eve had the great opportunity to share her toys with her younger cousin Scarlett. Of course she didn’t see it that way. She hated sharing. Convinced Scarlett would destroy her precious stuff, Eve followed Scarlett’s every step, overseeing. Eve’s constant tattling and low frequency whining served as auditory wallpaper.
This morning I opened the Bible to Matthew 19 for the day’s reading. The girls and I cuddled on the couch as we talked about Jesus and the rich young ruler. I read the story straight out of Matthew. I read Jesus’ words: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” And then I read, “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
Eve—moved, confused, earnest—wanted to know, “Why was he sad?”
I said, “He loved his stuff.”
And tears trickled down Eve’s round cheeks.
I’ve seen this happen time and time again. With my kids. With adults. In small group studies or over coffee. I’ve certainly seen it happen to me.
When the Word of God creeps into our actual, flesh-and-blood, messy lives. When it speaks directly to our hearts and our habits. When we look on the page and see ourselves.
This morning, Eve read the Bible and the words she heard broke her heart. She was the rich young ruler. She said—remember, she’s five—she said, “Mom, I love my stuff.”
To be clear, I did not remind Eve of the night before. I didn’t say a single word beyond what I’d read. And still…
She said, through tears, “I’m so sorry I didn’t share with Scarlett. I’m sorry I love my stuff.”
THAT is what the Word of God does.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
I read my Bible because it’s alive. Because it reaches down inside me and stirs me to righteousness, to holiness, to life. I write Bible verses in graduation cards and wedding cards and baby shower cards, because the Word speaks more perfectly and particularly than I ever could. I post Bible verses all over my house, because I want it inside me, shaping me. And I read the Bible to my kids because, well, isn’t it obvious?
After Eve said “I’m sorry”—as she was saying it really—I scooped her up into my lap and held her close. “It’s okay, baby,” I said. “You’re learning. God is helping you learn.”
I asked, “Do you want me to pray?” She nodded. We prayed God would help us not love our stuff, that He would make us who He told us He wanted us to be.