We are all so busy. There’s always some place we need to be, someone we need to see, or something we need to do in our daily life. We stretch ourselves thin while pursuing the wants and needs we all have. But what if we are neglecting one of our greatest needs during our busyness? How do we keep it all together while at the same time increasing our faith?
I wish I had all the answers and could say I follow them daily. But I will be the first to admit I fail to some extent each and every day. For me, my faith is probably the most important aspect of my life I want to hold onto, and yet I am guilty of setting it aside at times. I started off missing church because of illness, then it became a habit, and then a practice of not attending Sunday service. Sometimes I’m uncomfortable in larger groups of people, but I haven’t even tried lately. True, I’m at the church normally six days a week working, but it’s not quite the same. Yet, if you were to ask me, I would probably tell you I go to church all the time. And I do, but I’m not worshiping in a way that God deserves.
A few weeks ago, I began attending a new Bible Study on Wednesday evenings. I thought maybe if I could do this a few times it will “make up” for missing Sunday mornings. Well, it has not served that purpose; it has not given me a good out that clears my conscience of not attending Sunday morning worship, but it has given me a few unexpected benefits.
- Reading the Bible. I wonder how many of us could honestly say we read the Bible every day, and be very honest about it. I imagine not many of us. It’s so easy to put the Bible on the backburner. We’ll get to that later and then later never gets here. Not only has a weekly Bible Study given me more Bible reading time at home, I’ve begun exploring different versions online. I’ve even become very fond of a couple versions I had never heard of before. It helps me have a clearer understanding, and it keeps me reading.
- Friendships. Meeting in a small group, reading and studying the Bible together, sharing thoughts…it has created a bond amongst us I wasn’t really expecting. It has brought together folks who were friendly, and made them friends. When the pastor was out of town and we had no leader for the group, we went out to dinner together. We prayed, we ate, we laughed. We chose to spend that time together rather than go our separate ways. That is God working a plan in our lives.
- Socializing. I could very easily become a hermit. Rather than force myself to go out with friends, I would much rather stay at home with my pets and watch a movie or read a book. I’d rather make a To-Do List in my notebook than have conversations with people I enjoy. It doesn’t make much sense, but it is what it is and that’s how I am. Being an introvert isn’t a terrible thing, but there is much about life I sometimes miss because of my tendency to seclude myself. Bible Study forces me out of the house and among friends. The group is small enough I feel comfortable. Granted, if it was a group larger than ten, I might not feel the same way. Our group is cozy, but not overwhelming.
- Laughter. With most small groups, there is going to be laughter at some point. And you may have heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” If it doesn’t cure you, it’s bound to make you feel a whole lot better!
- A stronger relationship with God. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Studying God’s word, sharing thoughts, supporting each other. It all adds together to bring us closer to each other and to God. At the end of every study session, we pray. We can pray silently or out loud, however the Spirit moves us. It is a peaceful time, and I usually feel God’s presence in a strong way.
I would encourage everyone to join a small group for Bible Study. Not only has it strengthened my relationship with God, it is time well invested in making my life more balanced, more meaningful. And maybe, just maybe, I will be a better person for it.