I am convinced that there is no greater gift to give anyone than to give them the Word of God.
Our society has messed it up, though. We have different translations, with different meanings, to gain greater profits. We sensationalize the Word with graphics, or with fancy covers, or with celebrity inserts. All the while, about 340 million people in the world do not have a copy of the Word of God in their native language.
A friend of mine and youth minister in Memphis, George Welty, told me that it’s almost as if Satan has advanced an agenda by saturating our culture with copies of the Word. With so many copies, the Word becomes a little too familiar, and then gets very neglected. It’s like the old adage that if everyone is screaming, no one is being heard. If there are so many copies, then none of them will be read.
This summer, as we challenge our church and students to read the New Testament in 90 days, we begin this journey by giving copies of the Word of God to our high school graduates.
And I do that, knowing they probably have multiple copies already.
This year, though, I placed my own insert in their copies. It’s pasted on the front cover, and, in a few paragraphs, hopefully communicates what I see as the greatest gift I, or our church, could ever give them. So when they open their copy, here are the words they will read first:
On behalf of our church, we are honored to present you with a copy of the Word of God.
While we are aware that this may be one of many copies you own, we believe that this can be your most treasured possession, should you choose to give it a place in your life.
It is a grand story of humanity and history and divinity. The God of all creation, of a universe too large to even measure, decided to cast His eyes upon a tiny planet, and here, He breathed His life into frail beings made of dust. This book tells that particular story.
And of all these people, he chose a certain few to be the vessels of a great plan. That small nation, lowly and weak, was given access to the God of all things. The first part of this book tells their particular story.
All of their successes, and their failures, are recorded here. They are enslaved, redeemed, given kings who both honor God, and abandon God. They are then offered prophets, to call them to a repentance that never happened. And when they broke their covenant with God, God allowed a flood of consequences to follow them.
Yet on a starry night, this God sent His Word into humanity, and a tiny baby was born that would offer access to God to all of humanity without restriction. God proved to this tiny planet that humanity is completely incapable of rigid and complete obedience. He proved to this tiny planet that humanity needed a Savior who would cancel all covenants, who would break all restrictions, and who would offer grace instead of rules.
This book you hold is that story. It is raw, real, big, and unfinished. Your life is waiting to be filled with this same grace. And it is waiting to be used by God, like those in these pages.
Read it, and read it well, for God is waiting on you.