This week the girls are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Bible Bee materials. They are excited. This is the fourth year our family has participated, and with time immersed in the Word, we have borne fruit. There is the obvious fruit: the the sheer number of verses memorized (hundreds). There is fruit that sweetened and ripened into a Bible Bee Bible shared with an unbelieving friend. There is the sweet fruit of encouragement, watching other families take the Word of God so very seriously. We are not alone, in fact, we fall well behind the efforts of others.
The most enduring fruit has been that treasuring of God's Word in our minds through our summer days, poured over into all the rest of the year. Because my kids have worked so hard to know verses word for word, I now have a stack of memory verses of my own. A pile of ordinary index cards, hole-punched and on a binder ring, I carry it around and attempt to bind those passages to my heart. My mom, too, now has a stack of memory verses. The kids have spurred us on.
A hundred years ago, when I was in college, I had one professor whose course left a lasting mark on my life. He was old, probably close to retirement. He had frizzy hair and wore the same clothes he'd worn for the past 20 years. Truthfully, he was kind of boring. There were plenty of other professors, young, handsome, hip, entertaining, who seemed to overshadow him. And so, at the time, I felt like I was simply enduring his class on Romans.
Time, sifting the memory of college experiences, has allowed that out-dated professor to stand out among so many others. Every time that funny old man, that godly theologian, wanted to reference a scripture passage he quoted it from memory. There, before a sleepy class, meeting a Bible requirement, he quoted verse after verse of Scripture. When he missed a word, he was upset with himself, not quitting but running back over the passage again and again until he could run past his stumbling block.
The lasting legacy of a Christian University education, which didn't come cheaply, mind you, was that humble unpretentious man, steeped in the Bible. All his years of study and teaching both undergrads and seminary students was surpassed by what he chose to do in the quiet minutes of his days, and years. And that rich legacy, the wealth of wisdom from the Word of God, is ultimately free to us all, costing only hard work and much repetition.
I would give much to be out-dated, out-moded, by-passed by the hip and the culture shapers; yet able to recite verses and passages, chapters and books of the unchanging, eternal Word of the Lord.
Here is a blog post from my alma mater, The Easiest Way to Memorize the Bible that has spurred me to press on, and challenged me that even now I aim too low.