I try to enter every day with what I call my ‘Big Five’ list. I use to sit down and write out a bottomless list of meetings, commitments, tasks, and sundry chores that needed attention. The list was never realistic. So, it was demoralizing when I never finished. Far too many items got carried over than I care to admit. One day, I realized that what I was doing was idiotic. I decided to limit my list to five things. I called it, ‘My Big Five.’ I would only work on those five things until they were done and then I would move onto a new big five list. It was very liberating and helped me focus and kept first things first.
Some days I would write on my big five list, ‘Bible reading and TRAF.’ TRAF stands for toss, refer, act and file. It’s something I picked up out of a productivity newsletter years ago. The idea was that I would get my Bible reading done near the front of the day when I was fresh and I would take ten minutes to purge miscellaneous crud out of my office. It’s a great practice. One day though as I finished my Bible reading, I closed my bible, set it to the side and leaned over to check it off of my list. As I checked it off, I realized I had not taken any time to reflect on what I read. I hadn’t really paid attention as I was reading either. I had just crammed through reading four chapters so it could get checked off my list. My Bible reading had just been relegated to nothing more than a chore to be done like feeding the dog or watering the plants. What was I thinking? I wasn’t.
I turned back to my Bible and re-opened it. I skimmed back over the passage. I gravitated to a few verses and allowed my attention to tarry there. I thought about what God might be saying to me as I went into the day. I wrote some thoughts in my journal. The Word wove its way into my thoughts and actions. It influenced a devotional I offered the next morning. This is the way it ought to be.
If you are trying to get in a habit of daily bible reading, putting it on your list or in your day timer can be a great strategy. Just make sure that you are giving God the attention God deserves when you do it. I find I don’t have that attention when I get so busy that I become a human doing and stop being a human being. Slow down and tarry with the Word. Try not to treat your reading as a chore that you are getting out of the way. Bible reading is an opportunity to: commune with God, bathe in His mercy and His presence, encounter His Son, be guided by his Holy Spirit, be fed and nurtured, encounter the truth and a host of other grand holy adventures. I hope you never loose sight as I did. May God bless your reading.
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