Over the summer, I served as a counselor at our local church camp. At the end of the week, I did the usual final clean-up and pack-up. I took out the trash, vacuumed the floors, and checked all the nooks and crannies for left-behind items. As I checked under the bed I found something odd — there was a book left behind by some kid in the past.
I have no idea how long it had been there, but it didn’t belong to our group. The book was “Aesop’s Fables.” I was just about to toss it when I started to thumb through the book randomly. What I found was a bookmark. Specifically, the bookmark was a torn-out page of the Bible!
I found the situation extremely disheartening. While I don’t know the exact circumstances that led to this, what I do know is the most valuable page in that particular copy of Aesop’s Fables was the page from the Bible.
In 2016, Barna found that only 25% of teens read the Bible at least once per week. Leaving 75% of teens reading it once a month or less (Barna). Lest we feel like adults are doing much better, in 2021, Statista found that only 34% of adults read the Bible at least once per week, leaving 66% of adults who read the Bible once a month or less (Statista).
So if most people aren’t really taking the Bible seriously, this is how it becomes a bookmark, a paperweight, or a dust collector.
How sad it is that we would rather read fables than the words of truth (John 17:17).
How tragic it is that we would rather read words that entertain us rather than the words that can save us (John 6:68; Acts 2:38).
How tragic that we find value in reading other people rather than the words inspired directly from the Almighty Creator (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
This is an epidemic of epic proportions in our culture, and the blame finger can be pointed in all sorts of directions. But for the moment, let’s let that finger point squarely at you and me. We need to read Scripture more ourselves. We need to talk about it more with others. We need to emphasize its importance with our children. We need to bring the words to life when we teach them to others. We, personally, must do better.
After all, we can only control ourselves, but our example can influence others. In fact, our influence must influence others. This isn’t a silly fable we’re talking about here. Eternity literally hinges on it.