|The Coal Basket Bible
The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.
One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”
The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”
The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.
This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead.
The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.
At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”
“So you think it is useless?” the old man said. “Look at the basket.”
The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean. “Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.” That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son.
Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day, and remind a friend by sharing this story.
“Live Simply, Love Generously, Care Deeply, Speak Kindly, Leave the Rest to God
The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 35:31)
Relate: Sometimes I get a little bit jealous. I was raised in a family that is fully loaded with with people in a more “traditional” ministry. My dad was a pastor. So was his brother in law. My sister is a children’s pastor, my cousin who is one of my best friends is a pastor. So are multiple other cousins and uncles around the world. Even more, I have a heart for church planting. I have two cousins who have, or are doing it right now. (Including Rebecca, who wrote here on the River Walk yesterday) The church I am a part of back in the states, although not quite three years old, is already popping out another baby. Part of me wishes I could be back home to be a part of that. Again, my dad planted a church back in Rochester when I was in high school. As much as my heart pushes in that direction, it isn’t even close to what I see God doing through me in the near, or even more distant future. I love to preach and I would like to think I am pretty good at it. But I haven’t found myself behind a pulpit once in the past ten months. Nope. I’m stuck teaching English to Turkish elementary school kids and writing as I can find the time.
I wonder is Bezalel ever felt a bit jealous? Look at who he gets to compare himself to. First there’s Moses. He went up a mountain and came down with the ten commandments. He is leading a group of two million out from slavery and into the promised land. Then there’s Aaron. Yes he has to try and live in his little brother’s shadow. But then again, Aaron is the first and founding high priest creating a dynasty of mediators between God and Israel for the next thousand years. Of course, there’s also Joshua. He is Moses’ handpicked successor. He gets to train and lead the army and will be the one leading the people into the promised land. Bezalel? He gets to make a tent… fun.
React: Moses and Aaron and Joshua are the ones from that generation that we remember. They are the ones who join the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as greats of the Hebrew faith and the subject of Sunday School lessons world over. Bezalel… who is that? Bezalel was an artist. Oh, yah, one of those types. before we dismiss him, however, let’s not forget one very big but often overlooked fact. Bezalel was the first one in the Bible and the only one on this list said to be filled with the Spirit of God.
Maybe what we are doing isn’t as “big” or as “braggable” in the world’s eyes as that which others around us might be doing. Maybe we might feel that we need to squint a little harder or look a little closer to see how God is using us to change the world. Maybe we are just as obscure as Bezalel standing in the shadows of all the Moses and Aaron and Joshuas all around us. If that is so, let’s throw our very being into making those tents. I will strive to be the best English teacher this world has ever seen so that the world can see the Spirit of God shining brightly through me? You… what’s your tent?
Help me to compare myself to nothing else except the best “me” You have called me to be. Until the Goliaths come my way, help me to be faithful in fighting the lions and bears. Help me to strive to do the best and be the most diligent I can possibly be with whatever tasks are set before me. You have filled me with Your Spirit. Help me to make a tent that houses Your presence for all the world to see.