We all have one somewhere in our dresser or closet… that old, weathered shirt that’s been around for a million years. Or maybe it’s a trusty pair of pants, or a faithful sweatshirt. It’s the most ancient, tattered garment in our wardrobe, but also the most unusually well-guarded. During the occasional “weed-through-our-old-clothes” thing we all do once a year or so, this item will smugly elude the “Good Will pile” every time.
My mom gave me a Chicago Blackhawks t-shirt about 17 years ago that’s made this metamorphosis to cherished relic. The logo is cracked and faded, and the threads are literally disintegrating, yet it lives on. I had an old sweatshirt in this category as well, but my wife finally took it out of circulation one day. She did everyone a considerable favor with that decision.
My dad had a hard time separating himself from some of his old footwear, and he developed an infamous routine that altered the integrity of the heel area on most of his shoes. He had a habit of sliding just the front-half of his shoes on, and then would wear them around like clogs while smashing the heel section down under the backs of his feet. As a result, he could be easily identified by a distinctive sloshing sound as he moved about the house, and eventually the back section of his shoes would meld into a permanent feature of the sole.
Although my dad was hard on shoes, it was really his Bible collection that received the most wear-and-tear. Seriously, he had about 25 Bibles in various states of disrepair from constant use. The covers were falling off, the bindings were loose, the pages were discolored, bent and worn. They had coffee stains, penciled-in notes and markings in the margins, and old hand-cut bookmarks would regularly fall out and helicopter to the floor as he turned the pages. One Bible even still sports a custom silvery-gray spine he rebound while in the Holy Lands… using a roll of duct tape scrounged up by an Israeli bus driver.
I have one of my dad’s Bibles in my office as a great memory and motivator. Quite honestly, my Bibles aren’t worn out like his. I wish I could say they were. I sometimes justify this by saying I do most of my reading online these days… but I wonder if my bookmarked link to BibleGateway.com really gets more “wear and tear” than some of my other favorites. Excuses aside, I want my Bibles to be like that old Blackhawks t-shirt — weathered, familiar and cherished… the first thing I reach for when I want to feel like myself again. I want my Bibles to be like that old sweatshirt — so well-used that it needs a replacement. And I want my Bibles to be like the back of my dad’s shoes –- melded into a permanent feature of my soul.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 — All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
– Ron Reid