This should be a quiet week, to reflect? to rest? to start the next project? How about reflecting? Sunday I had the honor to lead worship as Hampton United Methodist Church celebrated with their graduates. Now, as I recall or rather cannot recall anything about my own graduation, I felt there was nothing life changing or profound that I was going to be able to share with the graduates and as I contemplated the direction to go in my message that morning, Jesus directed me.
We give the graduates a Parallel Bible with the New International Version (NIV) and The Message for study and comparison. It was interesting to share with these former students and the congregation the differences in the two Bible versions. The scripture for the day was Proverbs 22:1-12, Verse 6 is one of my favorites as a youth, I know my parents were in constant need to keep me pointed in the right direction–and many times as an adult I have prayed I had kept my kids pointed in the right direction. Read the difference between the NIV. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Now from The Message. “Point your kids in the right direction–when they’re old they won’t be lost.” I don’t know about you, but I get the same message from these two verses, yet would understand our young people if they have a preference for The Message over the NIV. It was fun and interesting to compare a chapter in Psalms and to point out a couple of chapters in Proverbs the I had highlighted for them. The reason for highlighting is to suggest when they turn to the Bible they can be reassured this is a starting place if they are unsure where to begin.
Yes, I write and color in my Bibles, as well as store little momentos. I have part of a chapter in Isaiah highlighted with the 20th verse underlined. In the margin I have written “INP – Bishop Trimble – 2008”. This helps me remember, it was a time between my first and second trip to Nigeria. I was at a meeting at the UM Conference Center in Des Moines for a meeing with the Bishops of both Iowa and Nigeria, and others. As Bishop Trimble read the words of the 20th verse I was moved. I highlight, underline and write in the margin to make it easier to find, but also that I don’t forget. I also have my favorite verse underlined in 2nd Timothy:
For the Spirit God ave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. NIV
God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. The Message
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. New English Translation (NET)
I asked the graduates to keep their Bibles close, on a shelf in their bedroom/dorm room, in a drawer, wherever, and when that need to read comes, whether it be tomorrow, a week, a month, or 5 years from now, they can go to it, the Bible, and read God’s word and know God is with them always and forever. Just as he is for you and for me.