one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids
by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists
I Have a Confession to Make
Her parents were faithful members of the congregation I pastored. It was through their influence she initially began attending our church. Although she had been raised in a Christian home, she hadn’t attended church regularly for some time.
When I made my usual pastoral call on this first-time guest, I was received warmly into her home. I met her husband who was a very nice man, but clearly not interested in spiritual matters. They had two adorable young children. In the course of our conversation she admitted there was a spiritual void in the life of her family. She did not want them to miss out on what she had enjoyed in her childhood.
The visit ended on a positive note. I prayed with them and left feeling confident this had been a divine appointment. In the weeks that followed, she and the children faithfully attended church services. Finally, one Sunday it happened. During the invitation she quietly made her way forward, knelt at the altar, and committed her heart to Christ.
The peace of God and the joy of the Lord immediately began radiating from her life. I stressed the importance of growing in her faith and offered to lead her through a series of new convert lessons. She accepted the offer and we set a time to begin the 13-week study.
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS OR SUBSTITUTES FOR STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES YOURSELF. SO, GET OUT YOUR BIBLE, ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES, AND GET SERIOUS ABOUT STUDYING THE WORD.
The first lesson dealt with the assurance of salvation. Lessons two and three addressed the subject of how to grow as a Christian. At the conclusion of one of the lessons, I asked if she had any questions. After a long period of silence, tears began to well up in her eyes. I wondered if I had said or done something to upset her.
Momentarily, she dried the tears and with a trembling voice said, “Pastor, I have a confession to make. When you offered to do these lessons, you hurt my feelings. I am a public school teacher and hold a master's degree in education. I thought I knew all I needed to know about the Bible. However, through these studies I have come to realize how little I actually know about the Word of God.” In the weeks that followed, she became an avid student of the Scriptures and evidenced remarkable spiritual growth.
Unfortunately, many followers of Christ are like this woman. They have learned just enough about the Bible to convince themselves they no longer need to study it. Pride (and sometimes laziness) keeps them from becoming serious students of God’s Word.
I have a confession to make. Even though I’ve been a Christian for 52 years, cultivating this spiritual discipline still requires hard work and commitment. Biblical preaching and small group Bible studies are important components in our spiritual growth and development. However, there are no shortcuts or substitutes for studying the Scriptures yourself. So, get out your Bible, roll up your sleeves, and get serious about studying the Word.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
About the Column
One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.