A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Last Monday night, I joined sixteen other men for our first discussion group meeting of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Rich, our leader, asked us to introduce ourselves to the group. After the first man spoke, Rich suggested we share our expectations for the year. The next fellow said in a matter-of-fact way that he was addicted to meds and he’d be pleased if we’d keep him in prayer. Bob, a big fellow across the room, said he thought we should pray right then. Rich said good idea; Bob prayed and everybody said “Amen.”
That seemed to set the tone for the rest of our session. The transparency of the guy who shared his problem plus the prayer broke the reserve that most of us wear like handcuffs in public. Generally, we’re at the stage in life where spontaneity is the exception rather than the rule. Before we’d gotten a third of the way around the room, a fresh-faced fellow named Jim said he’d done a lot of things in his sixty-plus years but had never married. Two years ago, he corrected that oversight and he said his life has changed considerably. There were some knowing nods around the room, like, “Buddy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Rich asked two new guys across from him to introduce themselves. Without a stutter, the one who looked like a pro linebacker said he’d been a drug addict most of his life. He recently came to Jesus, a decision which changed his whole life. Proudly, he said now he lives in a half-way house instead of on the streets. His buddy next to him said his occupation for over forty years was property management—other people’s property, that is. His habitual violations of the Eighth and Tenth Commandments earned him food and shelter in state provided housing for lengthy periods. He said that true belief in God changed his life.
The remaining introductions seemed pretty tame. But that’s okay. I doubt any of us would want to live on the street for months on end in order to get our heads screwed on straight. When we adjourned to join the other 250 men for the lecture, I sensed that our group and the
study of Genesis were going to make this a very special year.
Reed, our Teaching Leader, began the lecture with the assertion that “the most important thing about you is what you believe about God.” That’s really audacious, but considering the stories I’d just heard, it seemed believable.
Next time, we’ll talk about why that might or might not be true.