How to Read a Book with a Shovel

I think I suffer from Shovel-itis. Maybe you’ve experienced it. A passage in a devotional or Christian living book or especially the Bible just jumps out and grabs you. Well, for about 30 seconds. And instead of sitting with the words, maybe asking the Holy Spirit what it is God is saying to YOU, out comes the shovel and you dig up the catch to toss to a friend.

That is not the way to read an inspiring book. Ask God to show YOU how to digest it, don’t be looking for food to give away to someone else.  Like those thoughts that cross your mind to call a friend in need and say, “I think I read something that God has for you.”

Don’t do that.  

Another thing (preaching to myself) even if you have to snack and don’t have time for a full meal, get your spiritual food DAILY. Fresh food is best, old stuff just rots and brings no life. And you have to get your own food (see above). You can’t take someone else’s word–i.e. live your walk with Jesus on someone else’s nourishment. 

Maybe you do that, too. A friend at church tells you what the Holy Spirit showed them, how they were moved by a passage in the Bible or a message from a dynamic speaker. That’s not your food that’s their’s. You can’t get nourishment by osmosis.

Gathering food will cost you something. The Children of Israel had to go out early every morning for their ‘manna’ (Heb. ‘what is it?’).   

It will take some time and effort, just like getting physical food–you spend your time, your gas and your hard earned money to get to the grocery store for what will feed you.

Spiritual food  is the same, it will cost you something. Maybe not in the getting, but in the eating. For taking in the Word of God will change us if we let it.

BUT friend, it is the ONLY food that satisfies. 

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?”  Isaiah 55:1,2

Have you eaten today?

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6 thoughts on “How to Read a Book with a Shovel

  1. oh me too. I love how you describe this and it won’t be a image I won’t soon forget – so will slow down and savor what I am reading and learning. Thanks!

  2. I “ate” Acts chapter three this morning. Remember the story of the cripple that Peter healed by the Beautiful Gate to the temple? (vs. 1-10)? A footnote in my Life Application Bible provided this important reminder for me: The cripple asked for money but his request was denied. Instead, Peter and John gave him something better–the use of his legs. Sometimes God does the same–denies us something good so He can give us something better. That “something better” may very well include character development and great intimacy with Him.

    Thank you for your important reminder as well, Jody: “taking in the Word of God will change us if we let it.” Yes, Lord, help me be hungry for that transformation.

    1. Nancy, I’ve never seen that take-away from Chapter 3 in Acts–that God ‘denies us something good to give us something better.’ Intimacy with Him is my heart’s cry.

  3. This reminded me of the virgins as they wait for the Groom and they don’t share their oil. Instead they point to the source of who could give oil for their lamp. Well said.

  4. Judy Hansen says:

    You are so right – I’m not supposed to “eat” for other people! I need to ‘eat’ the Word for my own nourishment. As I rush to my “appointment” with Jesus each morning, He is waiting to meet with me. (of course He is always with me, but…) I sense His presence in an acute way, leaning on each other, shoulder to shoulder. This sweet communion is the sustaining nourishment I desperately need each day – no left overs here – only fresh ‘manna’ to carry me through THIS day. This is one ‘meeting’ I cannot afford to miss!

    1. “Leaning on each other, shoulder to shoulder.” I love that picture. For me, this morning it was reaching up to take His hand while I climb the hill ahead. It may be steep, but he is with me.
      Your words are a gift, friend.

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