Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Doctrine Whets Our Appetite for God

John Bunyan never has his allegorical characters sitting around the dinner table just shooting the breeze. He always injects godly teaching into their conversation. In Part Two of The Pilgrim's Progress Christian's wife Christiana and their four sons, along with several other pilgrims, spend some time near Vanity Fair at an Inn. As the food is being set on the table, Christiana's son Matthew says that the sight of the tablecloth and the bread "begetteth in me a greater appetite to my food than I had before." To which their host Gaius replies,
So let all ministering doctrines to thee, in this life, beget in thee a greater desire to sit at the supper of the great King in His kingdom; for all preaching, books, and ordinances here, are but as the laying of the trenchers, and as setting of salt upon the board, when compared with the feast that our Lord will make for us when we come to His house.

What is our purpose in reading theological books and in listening to sermons and lectures? In Bunyan's picturesque way he is saying we should be preparing ourselves to enjoy the real feast with our Father in His heavenly kingdom. This time of year we can get so busy with things like mid-term exams and preparations for Christmas programs that our studies may seem tedious. Let's remember Bunyan's counsel and transform our tedium into anticipation . . . and worship!

How do you keep your "routine" reading fresh? Let us know in the comments what you do for your reading, or maybe, what it does for you.