The first stories in the Bible were (likely) recorded in the second millenium. You don’t need a calculator to figure out that is a lot of years! Yet these ancient Bible stories hold great meaning for the modern-day disciple. The stories in God’s Word can instruct, inspire, heal, and encourage.
For today’s #FridayFive, we will look at five issues modern-day disciples face and the time-tested Bible stories to address those issues. This list is not exclusive. That is the beauty of God’s Word; it is active and alive, speaking to our felt need through it’s inspired text.
Time-Tested Bible Stories for the Modern-Day Disciple
Not Enough Time
When today’s Christians are presented with the call to serve, study, pray, and assemble together, a common (valid) response is, “I don’t have enough time.” Between work, family, upkeep of our homes, and a number of other responsibilities, our time is limited.
The story of Nehemiah can inspire and guide the time-challenged. Nehemiah led the Children of Israel to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem after their exile. There was not only a lot of work to do, but also an urgency to complete it. Without a wall, they were susceptible to attack from neighboring enemy countries. Nehemiah rallied the people and they began building. They were met with opposition, but never stopped doing the work in front of them. The work was finished in just fifty-two days. Nehemiah established his priorities, set a plan, stuck to the plan in the face of opposition, and relied on the Lord for the strength to do a lot in a little time.
And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. (Neh. 6:16, ESV, emphasis added)
Community is a buzz-word in the church. This is a modern-day movement with its roots in the early church. The first church established this concept of living in community.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and disturbuting the proceeds to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:42 and 44, ESV)
I love this picture of doing life together. I love what I see happening in a lot of churches—getting out of our seats and involved in each other’s lives. I enjoy being a part of online communities that function as a church, providing encouragement, spiritual guidance, and meeting needs. You can read more about building community here and here.
Making a Difference
Most of us would agree, we want to make a difference in the world. We don’t always know how. One of my all-time favorite Bible stories is of David and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9). Mephibosheth was the crippled son of David’s best friend, Jonathan. David accepted him at his table. He took care of his every need and treated him as his own son. David loved an outcast, the seemingly unlovable. He did this because of his love for Jonathan.
In the same way, we can care for others because of God’s love for us. It doesn’t have to involve grandiose plans or formal ministry. We can serve one person at a time. Listen when others talk. Sit with someone who feels alone. Find a way to meet a need. All of these small acts communicate the big love of our God.
Where is God?
There are times we feel distant from God. Difficult relationships, our emotions, and physical suffering can make us feel isolated or forgotten. Hagar has been there. In Genesis 16, we read the soap opera that is Abram and Sarai’s life. Sarai, desperate for a child, gives her servant, Hagar, as a surrogate mother. Hagar conceives and begins to taunt Sarai. Sarai sends her pregnant servant packing. An angel of the Lord finds Hagar sitting by a spring. She feels alone and broken. The angel promises to bless Hagar’s offsprings. He assures her the Lord hears her cry.
So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly I have seen him who looks after me.” (Gen. 16:13, ESV)
Hagar’s story reminds us that God is El Roi, the God who sees. While you may not see Him near, He is there whispering His promises in your ear.
Doing the Hard Thing
This following Jesus thing is hard. God sometimes asks us to do hard things like forgive our offenders, give when we are empty, and jump before we see where we will land. One of the most precious, faith-filled, courageous moments in the Bible is recorded in Luke 1. The angel of the Lord appears to Mary and tells her God chose her to be the mother of the Messiah. There are so many red flags with this proclamation, namely she is an unmarried virgin. With the unknowns swirling in her head, Mary says, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV).
I like to sit with this story when I feel overwhelmed with all that God asks me to do. I am challenged and inspired by Mary’s faith. It helps me say with Mary, “Let it be.”
#FridayFive Link Up
There is a common thread from Genesis to today; God is always faithful and never changing. What are some of your favorite Bible stories? Share in the comments or link up your blog post using the button below. It will be like an online Sunday School class!
Next week, in preparation for Resurrection Sunday, we will talk about our own healed wounds. I hope to see you, dear friend.
Photo credit: Samantha Sophia via Unsplash.