1/19/11

"Eating" the Word at Jury Duty

Eight hours with total strangers in a big room of chairs ~ yes, it was my turn for jury duty again. I love to accept my civic duty when I get a summons, because I really do want to be on a case. I love to watch our legal system operate.

But I'm not too crazy about the long time spent in a room with people who are passing the time, many of them gazing at a clock. People get creative when bored.

Some read books. Bookshelves at the courthouse offer a variety, but most people bring their own. (I read the last half of a Christian novel, Valeria's Cross. It was a treat because I never have time for novels. The man next to me was deep into a book on business ethics. The lady across the aisle was reading a paperback about Weimariners. )

Quite a few people read the newspaper ~ and one worked the newspaper's crossword puzzle. I noticed that a regular puzzle was on a table at the back of the room. I didn't see anyone trying to fit pieces into the already-constructed frame, but the evidence of past completed puzzles was framed around the room.

The activities were as varied as the personalities. One lady knitted. Another did needlepoint. A college student worked on homework. A man watched a movie on his iPhone. Some enjoyed the Internet in a closed room to the side. One woman counted ceiling tiles. Another must have walked a mile, pacing.

But the person who got my attention was a middle-aged man in a plaid cotton shirt who read his Bible. The expression on his face was one of hunger and excitement. I was far enough away to watch him intently without his knowing.

Every time I saw him during our stay at the court house, he was wrapped up in the Word of God. I don't know whether he was a pastor or a layman, but I do know that he preached a message to me today. Unashamed to read the Word in public, he so deeply focused in the scriptures that the rest of the room could dissolve away and he would probably miss it. He didn't just read God's Word ~ he devoured it ~ as if he'd found a rare delicacy and couldn't get enough of it. Oblivious to others, he reacted to what he read. It was all over his face.

The scripture that came to mind as I glanced over at the man from time to time was Jeremiah 15:16a ~ "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight." We "eat" God's words as we appropriate them. (The Message says, "I ... swallowed them whole.") In other words, we embrace what God says and determine to obey Him. When we "eat," it's as if God gives us a sumptuous feast; and we rejoice and delight in Him.

Clearly, "man does not live by bread alone," but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3). Just as all humanity starves without proper sustenance, Christians starve without the "bread" of God's Word.

I don't think I'll ever forget the sweet intensity of that man in the courthouse. Devouring the Word. Delighting in the Word. Giving me hunger for the Bread of Life, too. How about you ~ are you hungry?

1 comment:

Marja said...

Yes, I love the Word and it is my daily bread Dawn! And again Jeremiah... it seems more than a few blogger friends are in Jeremiah this week!