One of the greatest challenges in my work at Royal Mission is that I get to translate the message of the Bible into the present. An ancient book consisting of 66 books, written by some 40 authors over a period of 1500 years, is still relevant to my daily life to this day. That’s because it’s not just any book. It is the inspired Word of God. It feels like a privilege to me but also a great responsibility to discover what God says in his written Word (Logos). Even though the ancient book has been studied for centuries, there is still so much beauty and news hidden that is relevant to today.Often life-changing…
Studying the Bible as part of my work can best be compared to looking for treasure. I am, as it were, scouring a field with a metal detector in search of something valuable. It takes a while before the detector works and it is often the case that what I find is not what I was looking for, just a can. Until the moment the detector turns on again and you start digging, sometimes very deep. That is intensive. It takes blood, sweat and tears. Finally I hit something hard with my digging tools. It turns out to be a large chest containing a beautiful treasure. After all the effort that went into it, it feels like a wonderful victory to have discovered this.
Living through my own discovery
What exactly is this treasure that I found? The field in this comparison represents the Bible. The detector and all the tools to dig up a treasure is the methodology with which I systematically study a Bible passage. The treasure is a biblical or spiritual principle that challenges me to apply in my life so that I can grow. In learning to apply such a principle myself, I will discover where the blessing lies in embracing Truth, but also where the snags lie within myself. I am living through that moment. That experience is crucial for me to be a good messenger of what I have discovered.
Digging the treasure again
The best challenge is then to convey the message found to others. This could be in the setting of a church service or a lesson that I teach at one of the courses that Royal Mission offers, but also in writing a book. What I actually do is first carefully put the treasure I found in the field back into the ground. I rake the ground and cover it with leaves if necessary to make it look like nothing happened. The sermon or lesson I give is actually about finding, digging up and opening the treasure together with my audience. Be amazed together at what we have found. That amazement and the desire of the audience to be obedient by applying the principle makes me so very enthusiastic! I have seen so many times how people’s lives have been changed in this way. God’s Word never returns void!
Last week I was able to teach again at the Growth Course on Intimacy with God in Veenendaal. During the course, students receive the book ‘In Search of Intimacy with God’. In the book (and during the course) I try to explain my personal search for more intimacy with God, as if I were discovering it for the first time together with the reader. The reactions I heard from the students yesterday moved me. One “experienced God’s peace over his life after a long time .” Another discovered“for the first time that God really wants to speak to her” . Yet another came”to the discovery that his image of God created distance and that God is so much different than he thought “.
These kinds of testimonies continually amaze me about the transforming power of God’s Word and motivate me to go out into the field in search of many more treasures. The next book is now in the making…