He Only Ever Read the Bible

Often during my early morning prayer time, I catch myself about to pray for my grandparents, who are both now in the very presence of Jesus. I stop and think, Oh, I don’t have to pray for them anymore. They are with their Savior. And so I turn my prayer into an offering of thanks for their precious lives and the powerful influence they still have my own life.

Yesterday, as I went through this process, the memory of my gramps that popped into my mind, was his weathered frame, seated in his favorite chair, bent over His Bible with his pointer finger slowly sliding under the words he was reading, a pen and pad of paper on the stand next to him. Suddenly another thought dawned on me, I never saw him read anything else. He only ever read his Bible. I searched my memory files for an image of him reading a book, a magazine or newspaper, even a seed catalogue—since he was a farmer. And I could find no such memory. I don’t know if he read and maybe I just didn’t see it. But I do know he was ill-educated. I don’t think he went to school past the 6th grade!

The child of Romanian immigrants, my gramps grew up with four other brothers and a sister. They practically raised themselves after his mother suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized until her death. School was, in their minds, optional, until the truant officer came after them. So Gramps never did get a solid education or even develop an interest in being educated.

What Gramps was, he was–a simple, hard-working, strong-as-an-ox, stubborn farmer, whom God transformed into a Christ-follower. The one thing I saw Gramps pursue my whole life was his Savior—to know and love God. He and Grams went to Venezuela as missionaries when I was two—Gramps was already in his mid-50s. But that didn’t stop him. (Remember the stubborn part). He was gardener on a mission—to provide healthful garden produce at a remote missionary school for children of tribal missionaries. And that is exactly what God enabled him to do for almost 20 years. He was out working (remember that hard-working, strong-as-an-ox part) into his early 70s, in a tropical climate where 90 degrees was a starting point for the day’s heat. But, even though I am impressed by his tenacity in ministry, what inspires me is the simplicity of his ultimate pursuit. He only ever read his Bible. He didn’t have to become a scholar or even a good reader—he probably used his pointer finger as a guide because he still needed that help! Instead he became a man in love with his Savior. And that was enough.

Gramps’ favorite verse was Nahum 1:7—The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble and he knoweth them that trust in him. God certainly knows Gramps, because Gramps lived by a simple trust in his Savior.

He only ever read his Bible…

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