A friend of mine has the habit of finding Bibles. He doesn’t find them in second-hand shops or antique stores, but on the highways of Northern California. For as long as I’ve known him, more than 20 years, he has had a mission of Bible finding that reads at times like a new ‘Highway to Heaven’ series. This week he found Bible #508 (that is not a type-o). And the story touched me profoundly and I thought you might enjoy it too (with his permission of course):
Bible 508 (#1 for 2014), a Promise Keepers Men’s Study Bible, New International Version was discovered at 10:43 A.M. Tuesday, January 28th, 2014. It was located on Hwy. 99 (S), Fresno, CA.
A co-worker, Steve and I were enroute to a business meeting in Lindsay, CA. Just prior to the discovery, Steve, who is involved in a Twelve Step Recovery program was sharing, that Monday night was his Birthday night. He was celebrating 29 years in the program. He recounted, that when his 29 years was announced, people began to clap. He politely stopped them.
“Thank you, however, I must ask you to give credit where credit is due? I have a tremendous ego, I’m afraid, if you clap for me I will take credit for being here before you tonight. It is God that got me here. God has given me the eyes to see and the mind to know the benefits of this program. You need to give God the credit.”
I was so impressed with Steve’s humility, that I asked him to repeat his words.
Shortly, thereafter, I noticed a book lying next to the center cement highway abutment. It seemed a bit larger, than the books I’m accustomed to seeing. I would say it was about the size of two building bricks.
Upon first glance I had a knowingness that it was a Bible. Got it! I immediately took the next exit. I moved so quickly and without notice, that it scared Steve.
“What are you doing”, he pensively blurted out.
“I think that I just found a Bible”, was my response.
I quietly prayed my usual pre-discovery “hedge of protection” prayer. “Lord, please clear the way and let no one be injured as I go to retrieve this Bible.”
The pages of the Book were blowing back and forth, as a result of the back draft caused by the passing traffic.
I picked up the Bible. Yes, I had just found Bible 508. It was open to the 13th Chapter of Matthew. The Parable of the Sower. I put my thumb on the center of the page next to the editor’s teaching message. ETERNAL INVESTMENT – RETURNS – GUARANTEED.
I would later discover that the teaching discussed how one needs to prepare the soil of their heart, so that the Word of God (seeds) finds fertile soil. This in turn will yield a massive spiritual harvest in your life. How does one do this? Follow the example of the farmer. Good soil requires; planning, nurturing, cultivating and a good deal of effort. One needs to set aside time daily to examine his heart. Weed out every; thought, word, deed and act that chokes out the effectiveness of God in your life. Cultivate ones heart through prayer. Water it by meditating on God’s the purpose for your life. A heart prepared in this manner will allow the Word of God to take root, thus enabling them to receive an abundant harvest. (Teaching paraphrased)
I handed the prize to Steve. Without hesitation I blurted out, “Here is your message!” For a brief moment I had second thoughts. I had no idea what was to be revealed. Back in the car, we were off to our meeting.
Steve was overjoyed to be part of the discovery. Over the years he has heard stories of what it feels like to partake in a Bible find, however, 2nd hand stories never adequately describe the reality of the firsthand experience.
“Read it Steve!”
“Yes, God has a message for you!” The scriptures reference, Jesus speaking to His disciples.
(14b) You will be ever hearing but never understanding, You will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s hearts has become calloused; …
“Stop that’s not it! You are not calloused, if anything….!”
Steve began again, “(16) But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. (17) For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
The first words out of Steve’s mouth, “that exactly what I said last night! God has given me the eyes to see and ears to hear the value of this program…” I would liken the reverence in Steve’s voice akin to the awe one might have in witnessing the birth of one’s first child!
We just looked at each other for a moment. Words cannot adequately describe Steve’s excitement, joy, exhilaration. He almost cried.
I told Steve, “the Holy Spirit has just given you a true Birthday present. He has acknowledged your humility and profession of faith. Praise God!”
If I could have used the energy, that was in my car at that very moment, I could have driven to New York and back without refueling. I thought we were going to a business meeting. The Holy Spirit had planned a Birthday celebration.
The question now comes to you and I. What is Jesus saying?
“Will you be ever hearing but never understanding? Will you be seeing but never perceiving? Has your heart become calloused? This is an invitation from Christ Himself. All we have to do is ask! He will give us the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the mind to comprehend the blessing He has in store.
The Highway Bibleman