What’s that you’re reading?
As I have been reading Brother Andrew, I have noticed a startling consistancy. Whenever he smuggles Bibles into shut door countries, the people who receive them treat them like they are holding onto Jesus Himself. So much love and tenderness is felt toward this book that we in North America take for granted. A minister in Poland recieved a Bible for the first time and he actually wept. He had borrowed Bibles from the two parishioners who owned a coveted and precious copy of this book, and for the Church survice he would borrow one to read from and then, with a lingering caress along the cover he would return the Bible to the owner. To suddenly have his own caused his hert to burst- true story.
Bibles were selectfully printed under the constraints of the government and then put to a price that the common person could not afford, that is why this pastor sufferd for so long without one. In another case, a pastor in another country who did have a Bible, a worn out copy he had purchased off a street peddler, worked day after day to type out the missing chapters of a Bible he had managed to purchase that had pages torn out which had been sold seperately so the person would make more money. While sitting at an ancient typewritter, the man worked alongside the first Bible he had in his possesssion to restore this “new” one so that he could give it to another pastor in a different region who’s church did not have a whole Bible, but only pages that had been handwritten from various people over the years who had been able to borrow a copy long enough to write out some of it’s contents- true story.
People say, “Ya, but that was then.”
No. This is now. There are still many parts of the world where this is exactally what the Christian lives are like. Some say we should keep our Bibles to ourselves and stop pushing them on other countries, but we aren’t pushing them on other countries, other countries are pleading for them. They are longing for a Bible of their own. Some say to leave these people alone because they are better off without God. Oh really? They don’t seem to think so. They came to Jesus on their own and only God, Himself knows how because it is not an easy task, nor is it even really legal in these countries. But somehow these people found Jesus, or He found them, and now they long for, cry for, yearn after a Bible for their church. One Bible for their whole church! This book that so many disdain and look down on, that sits collecting dust on shelves in people’s homes here in our country is so desired in other countries that people are willing to sacrifice their homes, their jobs, even their freedom, just to have a copy. One man was recorded bringing four Bibles to country churches whose pastors didn’t have a Bible, when asked if he was afraid of punishment if caught he responded, “This. This is nothing. Four Bibles is a small sentace, four months in prison at best.”
That’s a month a book. How many of us would feel the same? He didn’t even register that a four month prison sentence in deplorable conditions was a huge sacrifice in the eyes of us here. Compared to what he had suffered for his faith in the past, it was nothing to him. Oh how we take for granted that book so cherished by others. May we remember our family in Christ who longs for a Bible, and touch ours more tenderly and read it more often, knowing what a blessing and privilege it is.