Something for Seven
by John Patridge
For most people reading this, we have almost completed two months of a new decade. With each new year and especially a new decade, people love to set New Year’s resolutions. Most times they are lofty goals that will make our lives better. Other times they are little things like taking the trash out without someone asking. “This is going to be the year. I am going to run that marathon, take that trip, eat better, lose weight or maybe even read the Bible.” Let’s be honest - most of these resolutions have the life expectancy of a goldfish from Wal-Mart. According to forbes.com, an average of 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. (That was last week.) Feel really good about yourself if you are on track; if not, don’t feel bad just join the club. There is always next year.
I don’t normally set resolutions because, let’s face it, who wants to set themselves up for failure? Many times, I tried to read the Bible in a year, and everyone knows how that works. By January 10th I have already missed three days and am ten chapters behind. I throw in the towel, it’s over, there is no way to catch up. Then I spend the next 355 days not reading my Bible because I got frustrated and gave up. That is really walking with the Lord and growing in faith, right? So that was my Bible reading plan for many years. I was always thinking long-term and just overwhelmed with trying to tackle the Bible. Then, about six to eight months ago, a friend asked me how many times I had read my bible that week. Of course, it was zero and zero the week before that and before that and you get the point. That is a hard thing to admit. How silly is it that I have a book or an app that holds everything that I base my life and eternity on, and I never attempt to see what it says? So, there we were trying to decide what to do and someone came up with the idea of, “maybe we should read the Bible.” Maybe just one day a week possibly two if we are feeling crazy.
In baseball, batters keep up with how many hits they get in a given game. During a normal game, any particular batter could get three maybe four chances at the plate. An okay hitter may hit 1/3 or a good one would go 2/4 or maybe he has a really good game and hits 4/4. This was going to be our new score card for bible reading. In seven days, how many times can I sit down for ten or so minutes and read something from the bible. Seems simple right. The first few months I still had 1/7 weeks and 2/7 weeks. Ouch! Still not where I wanted to be, but it was a huge improvement from where I started. One chapter a week for a year is 52 chapters, that would be a 52 chapter improvement over the previous year. That same Forbes article says that a person needs to do something 66 days before it starts to become a habit. Instead of feeling the weight and pressure of reading and understanding the entire bible, how about taking one chapter on at a time? One day at a time. Ten minutes.
Old Testament, New Testament, where do I start? Here is something that was given to me. A reading plan that I have a chance at keeping. It takes you through every word in the bible over the course of three years. Yep, three years on one book. If you don’t currently have a plan maybe you could try it out. In January 2023 will you be able to say I have read the entire Bible. Or will you be getting ready to read the first ten chapters of Genesis for the umpteenth time?
This reminds me, I haven’t read my Bible today. Please don’t read this and think I have my life together or that I’m a Bible scholar. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing and maybe that will keep me accountable.