Every week, my pastor-husband, Jon, memorizes the entire Scripture passage for which his sermon is based. Every. Single. Week. This is on top of his other work and family duties and responsibilities. And each Sunday, he recites the passage to the congregation in story-form.
It’s powerful and engaging.
And sickening. (No, not really. Well, maybe!)
This week, I got to thinking about it, and realized that he has probably memorized more Scripture in the last six weeks than most of us have or will memorize in our entire lives. Wow! Oh, of course, it’s not a competition. But it’s still a WOW!
I wondered, “How in the heck does he do that?” as if it’s some special skill or gift out of my reach. But Scripture memory is not a spiritual gift or something that only a few people can accomplish. It’s an ability that requires patience, persistence and commitment. I mean, we memorize phone numbers, addresses and other day-to-day information. Not to mention movie lines, the menus at our favorite eateries, and the stats for an entire team of baseball players. Right? Uh-huh. I’m picking up my toes, too!
If that can be accomplished, if our brains can take in and recall that needless information, then God’s Word can be memorized and ‘hidden in our hearts’. (Psalm 119:11) Right? Right!
I mean, it’s not that I can’t memorize. After all, I am a musician. Memorization is sort of a job requirement. No, seriously, it is. I mean, I have memorized thousands of pieces for cello, piano and voice. I’m talking page after page after page of music notes. One after the other.
And, good grief, the lyrics that I still have stuck in my head from nearly two decades ago. It’s insane! I was required to memorize music for church, productions for school and work, and other performances over the years as a professional singer. And get this: most of those lyrics weren’t even in English, my native language, but were written in Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian, French and German.
So, I thought, “Jada, what IS your excuse?” And you know what? I don’t have one. I got nothing. Nada. Zilch. Other than simply not doing it, not setting aside time for it and not making it a priority in my life.
Do I think God’s angry at me? NO. Do I think Jon’s a ‘better Christian’ because he memorizes Scripture and I really don’t? No. But I do think it’s a worthy pursuit and a discipline that I need to engage and activate in my life.
As I have thought about it, it’s not that I haven’t tried to memorize God’s Word. Or that I don’t have a few memory verses stored up in my noggin. But I know I can do more. Not because it’s expected of me or because I have something to prove (to myself or others). And it sure ain’t because there’s some reward waiting at the end of all this.
No, it’s because as Christ-follower, I know and believe that God’s Word, the Bible, is my instruction manual for my life. As such, I need to have more of it internalized, memorized, and ‘hidden in my heart’.
His Word is life.
His Word is love.
His Word is truth.
And I want more of that floating around in my brain to recall on crazy days, during tough times and to share with others who might need encouragement or guidance. So, that’s my personal challenge: Memorize God’s Word. Period. I have all sorts of tools afforded to me. Now, it’s time to take them out and use them. Set aside the time and make it a priority. And just get ‘er done!
If we don’t keep learning and growing, we aren’t truly living. Or so ’tis my belief. My soon-to-be-40 year old self has some work to do, eh? First, the 5K challenge and now this! By the way, those two could go hand-in-hand, I believe! So, with that, I will be memorizing the book of Philippians. And, now, I’m off to get started!