“How long have you had that thing?” Jon asked.
“Hmm,” Moses pursed his dark lips and thought for a moment. “Goin’ on forty-seven years now.”
Jon laughed and shook his head. “It’s been well used.”
“Yes, sir, it has…and I’ll tell you one thing. This is the most valuable thing I own. This book here’s worth more than all the gold in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I once sold my watch for a warm jacket and I’ve worked odd jobs here and there for some money or for food. When I…when I was especially down on my luck…I…I even traded my…Navy Cross for a hot meal.” he sighed. “There were times when I could have probably gotten money or food in exchange for this Bible, but…I’d rather go hungry and sleep out in the rain than part with this old book and, you know why? Because this book gave me hope when I was hopeless. It gave me peace when I knew nothing but trouble. It gave me strength when I had no strength left to go on. It gave me light when all I could see was the darkness. It gave me love and comfort when I knew only hate and pain. This book gave me life when my spirit was dying. This book, this book…is so much more than just a book. People…they have Bibles lying around their houses collecting dust on the back of bookshelves. They have the King James, the New King James, the NIV, and the ESV, they have more Bibles than they know what to do with and even the one they do use they hardly ever pick up. They don’t realize what they’ve got, the power that lies within this book. They don’t realize that this book can save souls. This book is the Word of God and within its pages is the Gospel of Life! And there are people who have never had the privilege of holding this book in their hands or of hearing the words of life and truth within. There are people who are, not only denied it, but forbidden, by their governments. And there are people who would, and do, give their very lives for this book. Yet so many of the people who walk through the doors of churches just like this—” he gave a sweep of his hand toward the church entrance. “They carry around their Bibles as if they were no more than an accessory to Christianity. They sit in their pews dressed in their Sunday finery and make a show out of sifting through the pages to find whatever verse the pastor’s reciting just so they can look like good Christians who know their way around a Bible. I’m not saying all of them do it, but some of them, and too many. Pastor…how do we tell them, how do we make them realize…the indescribable value of this book?”
© Whitney L. Schwartz