Have you ever tasted a book? One of our dogs, Xena the Warrior Princess Dog has consumed more than her share of my paperbacks. I have to be careful not to leave a book out or she will eat it. She seems to have a “paper deficiency.” In college, my roommate’s dog, Mindy ate Genesis 37-39 out of my Scofield Bible. Don’t get me wrong. I have devoured a good book on occasion, but not literally.
Looking on my shelf I see Eugene Peterson’s title, Eat This Book. Book eaters are in good company with the Apostle John and with the prophet Ezekiel. John’s story has a touch of humor in it. In his vision he sees a tremendously large and powerful angel straddling the ocean and the land, holding a tiny scroll. John was told to go and ask for it. Do we suppose he said, “Please . . .”? Upon receiving the scroll, the Apostle was told to eat God’s words. How do books taste? Xena has never told me. But the angel tells John it will be initially sweet and then sour in his stomach.
Anyone who has binged on dessert can tell you it is possible to have “too much of a good thing.” But why did the scroll affect John this way? First, God’s word to us is good. One of our members whom God has brought from another continent, encourages me often by saying, “The word was good today,” as he pats his stomach. God’s word to us is good because God is good. But his word does not always make us comfortable. As soon as we receive God’s word, we are charged with the responsibility of proclaiming it to a dying world.
At the end of the day, God’s word is all we really have to offer to the broken, the struggling, the sinful and the ashamed. Remember, Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live. People who are dead in trespasses and sins will not suddenly start doing good things.
Especially in this season, I have been reminded that God’s way of changing a broken world is primarily through the good news of Jesus Christ. God did not save us by giving us better laws or giving us control of our lives or the world. The good news is we were worse off than we thought, and more loved than we ever dreamed. Jesus is making us and our world new, one life at a time as we place our complete trust in him. Let’s take all of our intensity and energy and passion and put them to work sharing God’s love with the lost. God’s word is transforming our lives by the power of his Spirit. We change the world by sharing his loving word with a lost world.