Pastor David’s office has always looked like a hurricane had ransacked it or a bomb went off in it. The strong winds or person responsible left everything in unorganized piles around some sort of pedestal that could have been a desk. For some unknown and peculiar reason Pastor David once gave me a key to his office. Thinking back on his decision I can’t be sure if he was in his right mind when he handed over the key which I still have in my possession.
It was like handing a kid the key to a candy store and walking away in complete trust that the kid wouldn’t steal any of the candy piled up inside. I remember as a younger man unlocking the door, squeezing down the narrowing hallway which had piles of books and unopened mail stacked on either side. I was in heaven with a plethora of bible commentaries, text books and books written in both Greek and Hebrew which were fun to hold upside down while pretending to read them.
Only a handful of people had a key and even out of those only a few were brave enough to venture into his office without a guide. Even the pastor’s secretary would stand just inside the doorway and converse with him careful not to take too many steps into the jungle of book- vines that had grown up both walls of the office landscape.
It was different for me because I loved being able to lock myself in his office in a secret hall of knowledge where I could read all about Jesus, His disciples and works by the early Church Fathers. On one occasion I discovered part of a couch peeking through a large pile of mail and several cases of diet coke cans. I was able to push some of the debris off unto the cluttered floor and lay down in sort of prone position with my feet on top of the cases of diet coke. I always locked the door behind me so that no one would disturb me as was the habit of the local parishioners.
Of course, I’m looking back thirty years and haven’t actually been into David’s office for a long while. I remember it was a special place for me where the Spirit of God would guide me as I turned the pages of Matthew Henry, J. Vernon McGee or G. Campbell Morgan. As a young man I wanted desperately to understand the deep mysteries of God that were concealed in all the books that were piled around me.
Today I find myself lost in another jungle of books. These books I know intimately because I have purchased all of them while only managing to read a few cover to cover. Many of my books I’ve wanted to finish but just couldn’t get into the story while others remained too lofty in their presentation to keep my attention for more than a few minutes. While staring at the many piles of books in my office something dawned on me.
I don’t think Jesus would have read any copy on systematic theology. In my arrogance to learn more I had acquired volumes of books on how to study the New Testament, commentaries on the Old Testament and volumes of study helps which were in stacks lining the walls of my office. It’s strange but I have a guilty feeling while reading books that just don’t make any sense to me.
The truth is book studies, guides and extra biblical resources take us away from the leading of the Holy Spirit through the books that make up the Old and New Testaments. Religious leaders of Jesus’ day were so caught up in their pursuit of knowledge that they missed the first appearance of the Messiah.
Pride is our downfall. I have seen it rear its ugly head in myself and I have seen it in many other Christians I know. Jesus taught that what we need to do is demonstrate love and not just simply talk about it. Even our high school English teachers would say that “love” is a verb and depicts action. Jesus demonstrated His love for us when He offered Himself up as a sacrifice; the Lamb of God.
It’s difficult to understand how volumes of works have been written on what Jesus taught. Jesus Himself simply encouraged us to love God with all our hearts, minds and strength then to love our neighbors as ourselves.
While I have made the decision to throw out most of my books on theology, which are piled up on the floor, I will still hold onto a few of my favorites. Beloved let us not only love in word but also in deed with every opportunity that God presents to us.