One of the hard things about moving into middle age is watching those who were in middle age graduate to their twilight years. I distinctly remember watching my grandpa walk across one of his fields a few years ago and for the first time he looked old. He had farmed his entire life and carried himself with strength and fortitude, but on that crisp fall day, I looked at a man whose pants hung loosely on his hips and whose posture was now withered. I found I had to shout my conversations to him because his hearing was leaving him. His skin is wrinkled and speckled with age spots. His energy has waned and his memories grow ever fainter and yet there is an ever-increasing joy and satisfaction as he nears the end of his long race.
He bemoans to me that it is harder and harder for him to read his Bible and yet he pours over its pages for hours a day. I asked him how he is able to read the small print when his eyes struggle to focus. He laughs for a minute and then he says, “Nate, I know these pages well.” The smudges and dog-eared pages testify to the truth of those words. He knows those words well. He has read, prayed, meditated, taught, and memorized so many verses of the Bible that while this world seems to slip from his senses, his grasp on Jesus only tightens.
Friends, your eyes are likely to fail you and your hearing is probably going to fade as well. Your mind will lose its sharpness and what will you be left with? This is the beauty and benefit of memorizing scripture. When the ability to gather is gone, will you have storehouses full enough to provide the sustenance necessary to finish well? Will you be able to fall back on promises that will lead you into eternity? What will nourish your soul when you can no longer feed yourself?
This weekend 20 college students will gather for one of our memory verse dinners. Each semester we have a collection of verses for the students to commit to memory, and I am so proud of these young people and their commitment to hide God’s Word in their hearts. They are filling the storehouses of their soul with food that cannot be destroyed or stolen. The investment they are making in their lives will allow them to feast when their body is failing. The Word of God will sustain them when they need it and encourage the saints as well.
Just as we are allowed a limited season of work before we are no longer able to do it, and we save for retirement that we might be provided for when we need it, so too we are given a window when we can store God’s Word in our hearts. I pray that LifePoint will be a church that is committed to memorizing scripture, not so we can show off with our knowledge, but so that we can rest well in the surety of God’s promises. That we might be able to dip into that vast reservoir and offer a timely word to another. That as the sun sets in our lives and the light seems to be fading and the words of the Bible are blurry, we can smile and read on…because we know these pages well—not just in our heads, but in our hearts.
Pastor Nate Gast