Yesterday (Friday) was my day off. Days off are meant to be relaxing, non-stressful, and harmonious, so naturally yesterday was filled with drama and tension. (Warning: this post is longer than most and slightly sanitized).
Several months ago I had purchased a new faucet for the downstairs bathroom. I had procrastinated with installation, because the upstairs bathroom had been a pain. Our house, built in the early ‘70s, does not have shut-off valves under the sink and the pipes are old. The only scheduled event yesterday was to take my mom to the dentist in the early afternoon. So, at my wife’s suggestion, I got started on the faucet replacement hoping to be finished by noon. After all, the instructions with the faucet said it could be installed easily without hand tools!
The instructions said nothing about removing an old faucet in the tiny, cramped space of small bathroom, especially when the locknuts are rusted and frozen. My wife, trying to be helpful, asked how she could help. In as few words as possible, I strongly recommended that she stay far away. With frustration building in my throat, I grunted, groaned and called out for mercy, as I twisted, turned and grappled with a ten-cent nut. I tried first one tool, then another; I sprayed WD40 around every nut, bolt, faucet, pipe and joint within a six-mile radius. I was not finding harmony.
Finally I removed the old faucet and started installation of the new. It actually progressed smoothly. The instructions were helpful and accurate. I thought, “I could be a plumber,” until I tried to attach the waste water trap and the waste pipe snapped off behind the wall. Reality crashed in upon me.
“I am not a plumber!” I shouted at the world, or more specifically my wife.
On the phone she quickly found a plumber who could come that afternoon. She took my mom to the dentist, while I waited for the expert. Jerry arrived, courteous and knowledgeable. He got to work, without any groans, shouts or comments. He had all the right parts and tools in his truck. Within an hour he had the faucet, two new shut-off valves, and a new waste pipe and trap installed and working properly. I paid for his service, grateful for his expertise.
This morning I read an e-mail that one reason the Christian faith is at risk, is that we have turned it into a religion run by experts. People feel uncomfortable studying the Bible because they don’t feel like they have the proper tools or expertise to understand it. Many feel like they will only make a bigger mess if they read the Bible on their own, like me trying to replace a faucet.
I admit that there is a time and place for experts, even in Bible study. Yet most of us take time each week or month to mow the lawn, plant a garden, change the light bulbs, and clean the kitchen without using an expert. To simply read the stories of Scripture and to ask for God’s guidance does not require an expert. You can do it today. God delights in teaching us the story of his people.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
What fears keep you from reading the Bible? What joys have you discovered in God’s Word?
Lord Jesus, teach me to read your Word with joy and hope.