One Sunday God decided to visit a small church to see what kind of people were coming to His house to worship Him. The sign on the church said that services started at 10:00, so He got there at 9:30 just to make sure He would get a good seat.
But as it got closer to 10:00, He realized that He had been needlessly worried. The church was less than half full and all the people that were there were sitting in the not-so-good seats in the back. He was all alone in the front row, which is where the best seats are because that’s the best place to hear clearly what the pastor is saying during the message.
At 10:10 the pastor, who had apparently been waiting to see if a few more people would come in before starting, gave a small shrug and told the music director to start the worship songs. The songs were beautiful but God noticed that some people weren’t singing along and others were simply singing along without really thinking about the words very much.
After the worship, everyone sat down and the pastor made a few announcements about Bible study and prayer meetings, as well as a trip for the children’s group to the city zoo. When he asked for volunteers to help with these activities, God couldn’t help but notice that the pastor’s wife and a mother of several children who was always volunteering for things were the only ones who raised their hands, and very few people had written down the information about the meetings.
Then the pastor began his message. God was very interested, but He was having a hard time concentrating because there were a couple of people in the seats behind Him who were snoring.
People continued to trickle in long after the pastor had begun his message and by the time he was finished the church was almost three quarters full, but God was still alone in the front row.
After church there were cookies and coffee in the lobby while the pastor and his wife stood by the door and bid people a good day as they were leaving. People were loudly talking about many things, including some things which made God very sad, but He only heard one person talking with the pastor about the message he had given.
God was greeted warmly by a few people, but most of the people either ignored Him or looked at Him out of the corners of their eyes wondering what He was doing there.
While He was speaking to the pastor and His wife as He got ready to leave, a middle aged woman who had been coming to the church for many years walked up and joined the conversation. Under her arm was a well worn Bible, the gold coating around the edges long gone, the pages dog eared and a bit tattered in places, with notes scribbled in the margins and a few precious passages underlined.
A younger woman, who was the sister of the first woman and only occasionally came to the church, walked up and looked at her older sister tiredly, finally exclaiming;
“Leah, why do you carry around that ugly old Bible?! Why don’t you get a pretty new one like mine?”
Thinking she would impress the pastor by doing so, she held out her Bible which had beautiful gold trimming around the pages, which were immaculate and didn’t have any scribbling on them.
God took the brand new Bible (which the woman had actually owned for many years) in His left hand and the other woman’s well worn Bible in His right hand, looked from one to the other, and then handed them back to their owners, saying;
“The Bible of Leah is not ugly. It’s one of the most beautiful Bible’s I’ve ever seen. When I see a Bible like that, it brings tears of joy to my eyes, because I know that that is a Bible which has been read!”
Now that you’ve read this little story, I have two questions for you.
If God were to visit your congregation, what would He see and would it be what you’d like Him to see?
The other question is, what does your Bible look like?
Author’s Note: This short metaphorical story has appeared in the past in different mediums but I own full rights to it.