What Would Grandpa Say?

     [EGW editor's note: Published in the October 2013 issue of Think magazine, used by author’s permission.]

Read, Read, Read
by Jim Mettenbrink

     “Who was Benjamin Franklin?  The 100th US president?!?!”  That was the answer a young adult gave when Jesse Watters (Watters’ World, FNC) was interviewing people on the street.  Jesse asked another – “Do you think Hawaii is a liberal state?”  The young adult responded, “What’s a liberal?” followed by an unforgettable nervous giggle.  Certainly, such reveals ignorance and perhaps apathy or laziness.  Now if he had asked about the immoral Miley Cyrus gag-a-dance step……!!!!

     About five years ago being concerned about our young folks’ ignorance regarding the encroaching socialism and loss of freedom in the USA, I visited a PoliSci professor friend.  After a noticeable silence and long sigh of exasperation, he said, “We live in the ‘virtual’ generation, the students don’t read.”  What!!  Grandpa says, “Make yourself an interesting person – read, Read, READ!”  Have you struck up a conversation with a stranger and after five minutes he says, “You are an interesting person”?  So are you interesting?  If not, why not?  Interesting people are informed and knowledgeable about many aspects of life, especially those which have an effect on their lives.  Pop culture?  Waste of time!  People magazine?  Light the fireplace with it.
     Take a book wherever you go.  Always!  Going to the dentist, the clinic, the tire dealer, my monthly visit to the chiropractor, the question has long become a refrain – “What are you reading now?”  Soon he says something like, “that’s interesting, wish we had more time to hear more.”  Is that which affects your life important?  Of course it is.  So why remain a dull dolt?  Learn about it – Read!  What do you know about the constitution which established the democratic republic of the USA?

     Shockingly earlier this year, the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center revealed that 47 percent of 18 to 30-year-olds thinks the 1st Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.  What!!  Too much freedom???  Indeed the survey reflects their ignorance of the 1st amendment: 36% did not know any of the five freedoms.  41% did not know it guaranteed freedom of speech.  76% did not know it guaranteed freedom of religion.  It gets even worse with the other three.
     We begin to lose our freedom because of ignorance and /or apathy.  Have you read the Federalist Papers, the reasons undergirding the constitution?  Recently former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor declared that (1) 2/3 of Americans cannot name a single Supreme Court justice.  (2) Nor can 2/3 name the three branches of the US government.  (3) 80% of high school seniors can not explain how citizen participation benefits democracy.  Nothing impacts your daily life like government.  Learn about it – read.

     Furthermore, for Christians, reading is paramount.  In 1907 Dinsdale Young stated, “One of the great presuppositions of the Bible is that God’s people will read.  The existence of scripture is in itself an argument for the necessity of reading.  That God inspired a book indicates His desire that His servants should be readers.
     About 35 years ago, a deacon and I went to visit a man who had been a Christian 20 years who was being considered to serve as an elder.  After some exasperating answers, I finally asked him the most fundamental question.  “Show me from the scripture how to become a Christian.”  Fumbling around in the pages of his Bible a few minutes, he looked at me and said, “I can’t.”  He was certainly not a Berean (Acts 17:11).  Obviously his Bible had been little more than coffee table decor.  And he had not read or studied God’s writ to mankind for which each of us is responsible to know.
     Since the Bible is the most important book on earth, you must read… yea, study it diligently.  After all it declares your destiny – eternal life or erternal damnation in hell!

     Cecil May wrote regarding his tenure at Magnolia Bible College some 20 or more years ago, that “incoming students were given a comprehensive Bible content test.  Since it is a Bible College, it is presumed the most biblically interested and knowledgeable people in the Lord’s Church were the ones who generally chose to go there.  With very rare exceptions…the scores were poor.  Make that POOR!”  The average score was 30%!  Regarding a congregation’s Bible classes, he asked, “… what are they spending twelve years learning?”  More so, what are Christian parents teaching at home for the first 18 years of their children’s lives.  And what sort of heritage does such ignorance leave for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren?  After all, we are charged to prepare our children for eternity in heaven, not allowing them to drift into hell!
     Young parents, read to your children as soon as you can.  Grandpa says, “Young mothers read the Bible to your unborn baby daily as soon as you know you are pregnant… and every day thereafter until your child can read.  Then insist he / she reads the Bible daily… and set the example.
     Notice the Lord’s instruction about God’s covenant which Israel agreed to follow.  “
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
     Of course, your daily conversation should be about God and the salvation He offers us.  “
… The gospel of Christ,… is the power of God to salvation…” (Romans 1:16).  Unlike Moses’ day though, we have God’s word in a book – the Bible – Read!
     David McCollough, an English teacher stated in this year’s high school commencement address, “Be worthy of your advantages.  And read … read all the time … read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect.  Read as a nourishing staple of life.”  Regarding the spiritual staple of nourishment, the apostle John declared, “
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,…” (1 John 5:13) — read, Read, READ!

     (Author’s additional note:   I encourage all to subscribe to Think, a monthly magazine (866-313-6474) focused on Christian living, published by Focus Press.  Most of our brotherhood publications focus upon the doctrine of faith — what the Bible says and we believe internally.  “Think”  is more about living the faith and the external threats to the home & family.  Think also has a four page insert for children.  Focus Press often has a holiday special in December and/or January.  Subscribe for your family and give it as a gift.  Focus also publishes many books and DVDs on family, moral and Christian Evidences.  Go to www.focuspress.org.  —  Keep the faith, Jim)

      © Jim Mettenbrink; used by permission; courtesy of the Brookings church of Christ; 161211
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