One evening last summer, I made a special visit to a local furniture store. And a lot more than furniture met my eye.
Folks milled about carrying champagne glasses and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres. I was there — not only to scarf down a few yummy desserts — but also to win The Grand Prize! It was one of those drawings where YOU HAD TO BE PRESENT TO WIN. So I came, filled out the entry and waited.
Finally, the store manager made her way to the microphone, reached into a huge basket of sweepstakes entries, and pulled out the $500 winner, then the $1000 winner. Each announcement echoed with a shout of glee and the growing applause of the crowd as the winner made their way to receive the coveted prize.
Then the moment that all of us hopeful prospective winners were waiting for.
Madam Manager bellowed, “NOW FOR THE GRAND PRIZE! And the WINNER is: Ima G. Forgetaboutit from Falls Church!” (her real name has been changed to protect her feelings. You will understand later)
I was so excited!
No, I had not won. But I was delighted it was Ima, BECAUSE I KNEW HER! In fact I knew her well enough to know what the “G.” stood for — “Gonna.” Ima Gonna Forgetaboutit lived in my Falls Church neighborhood. She and I were friendly — I had her cell phone number in my phone as proof!
The crowd grew expectant, waiting for another squeal of delight.
We all strained to hear a possible rumbling from the far reaches of the store. Maybe she was stuck back there and had choked in excitement and could not cry out, “It’s me, I’m here!!”
Apparently, Ima G. Forgetaboutit DID forget about it. SHE WAS NOT PRESENT. She was nowhere to be seen.
Maybe she didn’t actually forget about it — but was too busy. Or maybe she didn’t know she had to be present to win. Or she thought she would never actually win, because she wasn’t “lucky.” Why bother only to be disappointed again?
BUT WHAT IF she had been told, in no uncertain terms, that she WAS going to win. Do you think she would have marked her calendar in bright red, or set a reminder on one or more of her i-thingies? Would she have planned ahead and done whatever it took to get there in time to hear the announcer call her name?
Of course she would have.
I wondered as I left the store whether or not to call Ima — but I decided not to. If I had been her, and someone told me I had just missed being The Grand Prize Winner simply because I had failed to show up, I would have been so ANGRY!! And sad.
So I kept quiet. (that’s why I changed her name) I didn’t want to upset her. And besides, nothing could be done after the fact. She was NOT present. Her moment had passed her by.
I don’t think it was an accident that I was privy to Ima’s loss. I thought about it a long time. Here’s what struck me:
If I knew ahead of time that SHE would be the winner, I would have told her, “You cannot miss this!! You will be so glad if you show up, Ima!! Really, I promise you! Do whatever it takes to be there. Reschedule any plans, don’t let anything keep you away! If you need a ride, or a reminder, I am on it!
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I actually DO know a sure thing.
It’s Bible Study. Really and truly! Prayerful and consistent study of God’s Word promises to yield riches far greater than any earthly sweepstakes.
Here is just one of God’s many promises found in the Bible: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
God keeps His promises, so the “grand prize” offered to all who “show up” longing to find Him in the pages of the Bible is a sure thing. God reveals His plan to rescue a hurting world, one person at a time — through His word, and transforms a willing reader — by His word. That’s how powerful it is. (Nothing but the power of God experienced through the Word of God could transform this former sassy, rebel child! Thankfully, God is not finished with me yet!)
And that’s just the beginning of His storehouse of “prizes” He will award us, but we have to show up often to receive them! Remember those phrases in sweepstakes about how your odds of winning are increased by greater participation? The same is true for our walk with God and what we can experience when we not only study on our own, but also consistently partner with others in exploratory, thoughtful Bible Study.
Which leads me to another sure thing. I might be stepping out on a limb making such big claims. But I have been the fortunate recipient of this particular sure thing for well over 20 years.
It’s Community Bible Study. A place where you and I are invited to partner together and experience the riches of God, freely offered in His Book.
All denominations are represented and welcome — and all levels of Bible knowledge — from unchurched seeker to seasoned saints.
Make sure you tell your friends and neighbors they cannot go another year missing this! Invite them today, offer a ride and send a reminder. I am willing to bet they will thank you, if not immediately, possibly in eternity.
Last summer, had I known that my neighbor, Ima G. Forgetaboutit, would beThe Grand Prize Winner, I would have told her to come with me to that furniture store. “Trust me, it’s a sure thing. Really!”
Summer is almost over, and my local McLean Women’s CBS starts on Sept. 13th, so I have some calls to make. I know in advance about another sure thing. And this time, everyone is a winner — but you must be present to win.
Rooted In Truth Scriptures: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Ephesians 1:7-10 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29 …being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
Growing In Love Application: Who do you know that could benefit from Bible Study? Make a list, check it twice, pray over it, then step out in faith and start inviting! As a wise woman once said, “It’s never too late to do what’s right!”
If you want to find out more about Community Bible Study, click HERE!