Spice It Up
I’m getting to a point in writing these articles I have to look back and see what I’ve talked about before so I don’t redo the exact same article within a year. Honestly, after a year I don’t know that any of us would remember anyway, so by then redos will be fair game! In all seriousness though, I still sometimes feel pressure to come up with something new, exciting, and different than you’ve ever heard before. I think most preachers, youth ministers, and Bible class teachers do. It’s easy to think, “Man, these people have heard the story of Abraham one hundred and fifty times…”“What haven’t we talked about in a while? Balaam and his talking donkey?” or better yet, “How can I spice up this Bible story?”
I think that last one speaks volumes to what we are really saying about all of these ideas. What can I add to God’s Word to make it better (I really wanted to capitalize the “I” in that sentence to emphasize it, but it was already capitalized. So just put the emphasis on that word in your head). There’s nothing we can do to make God’s Word better. It’s God’s Word. There’s no such thing as better.
Even still, when you hear the preacher say, “Open up your Bible to Matthew 5” it’s easy to think, “Oh great the beatitudes, again. Hasn’t God updated the Bible in the last century?” We clamor for something new, something exciting, something we’ve never seen before. We always want the newest iPhone, vehicle, or clothing style. Sure, we love a classic thrown in every once in a while, but what we really want is new.
I have a bad habit of making sports analogies about everything, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you played sports in high school, you probably practiced every day. Maybe not as much as kids do now adays, but still a considerable amount. In those practices you probably did several different drill. If it was baseball/softball, you probably did the hitting drill where you put the bat behind your back and in the bend of your elbows and went through your swing to make sure that you aren’t dropping your back shoulder. That may be a little convoluted if you didn’t play, but the idea is the same. Go to a baseball practice today. They are still doing that drill where you put the bat behind your back and in the bend of your elbows. Why? Simple, it works. Like I said earlier, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure they may have added some things to some of the drill you did back in the day, but the concepts are still exactly the same. You do the same drills day in and day out. I still remember the same eight drills we’d do every week in basketball to get warmed up.
Clichés are clichés for a reason. Because they are probably true. Practice makes perfect. Repetition is key. We complain about hearing the same things in the Bible over and over again. We complain that we’ve heard the sermon on the mount fifteen dozen times, but we still aren’t living like Jesus told us to in Matthew 5-7! We want something new, and sometimes that’s great, but we can never forget the fundamentals. Professional basketball players that effortlessly sink forty-foot jump shots still do the same drills a junior high basketball team does every day. We get sick of hearing the sermon on the mount, but how many times are those exact same ideas echoed over and over again in the New Testament? If the Bible says something one time, it’s important. How important it something that’s mentioned ten, twenty, or thirty times? Repetition is a good thing. There’s a reason you’ve heard the story of Abraham so many times; he had outstanding faith. There’s a reason you hear the story of Moses over and over again; he was a great leader, with God’s help. There’s a reason you’ve heard the story of Peter over and over again, he’s so much like every one of us. And there’s a reason you’ve heard the story of Jesus over and over again; it’s the greatest story ever told.
When Jesus really wanted to make a point to His disciples He would say, “Verily, verily” or “Truly, Truly,” depending on the version you’re reading. Jesus used repetition to make a point. Paul spent his ministry writing letters discussing the same things over and over. Look at Colossians and Ephesians; they are so similar that people doubt Paul even wrote both. Paul literally wrote nearly the same letter twice! Never be disappointed you’re hearing the same lesson again. Chances are, you didn’t get what you needed out of it the first time.