"Those who read fast reap no more advantage than a bee would by only skimming over the surface of the flower, instead of waiting to penetrate into it, and extract its sweets."
~ Madame Jeanne Guyon ~
I am a quick reader. I always have been. I have been blessed with an ability to comprehend and remember what I read, even when I am reading it at a pace that most people call skimming. One of my earliest memories about reading was in 4th grade. I came home and told my Mom I had a "free hour" so I read Eight Cousins by Louisa Mae Alcott. All 300+ pages. In an hour. My Mom didn't believe me, but upon quizzing me on the book decided I had indeed read it, not skimmed it.
This ability has served me well. It made university reading a breeze. It got me through my graduate school reading with little effort (my social work program required 500 pages of reading per hour of credit--not an easy feat when carrying a 15-18 hour load). And it allows me the luxury of reading for pleasure as an adult when most of my daily reading consists of the "Good Night Moon" level.
But there is some reading that I must slow down as I read. I must take my time reading God's Word, daily. I don't slow down because it is difficult to read (although sometimes that may be true). I slow down because I don't want to miss a detail. I want to relish it, to savor it, to let it totally digest into my being. I want it to change me, and that takes time.
I love the image in this week's quote. Last summer I watched the honey bees in my front garden. They flitted from plant to plant, testing and tasting the surface but not dwelling. Until they got to the lavender plant. The lavender would be covered at any one time by dozens of bees, drinking in the nectar. Taking the sweetness back to their hive to infuse the honey they would make. And lavender honey is some of the loveliest honey I've ever discovered for putting in my tea, so their efforts were worth it. It is the perfect picture of my reading habits. I flit from book to book tasting the surface. But at the Bible I need to dwell and drink it in. The more of the sweetness I drink in, the more of God's building blocks I will have for building my life. And just as the lavender infuses what the bees produce, so the Word of God will infuse my life--but only if I drink it in quantities to change me. I could read the Bible quickly and be able to retell the stories, but it won't change me. Steeping in the stories changes me. Knowing the word of God (Bible) helps me reflect the Word of God (Jesus). And that is the change I pray is made in my life.
I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1-2
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photo credit: from www.morguefile.com author="ladyheart"