Close the Door and Read It

When I was brand new to my current occupation I was hired as an inexpensive replacement for a highly regarded, competent, experienced employee who’d just been laid off.

My then-employer brought back the experienced and now laid off employee for 2 days “to train me.”

He was charged with teaching me everything he knew in two days.

We both understood the futility of the situation. And he exhibited more grace than I can possibly imagine mustering in that context (unemployed, rejected, financially destabilized, and charged with training your own clueless-but-inexpensive replacement in two days).

After spending the first awkward day graciously taking me on a detailed tour of the entire workplace and personally introducing me to everybody I’d need to know, he and I sat down in his former – now “my” – office and looked at one another for a moment.

“I don’t know what to tell you…” he began, almost apologetically.

“It’s okay, really!” I cut him off, not wanting to make this any more painful than it already was for him.

He pointed to a long shelf above my desk. There was a huge, thick well-worn binder that contained everything the person in that job was expected to know. It took up a good part of the shelf. “Honestly,” he said, “My best advice is to close the door, hang out a sign that says, ‘Do Not Disturb’, and make time to read that whole book from beginning to end.”

I did that. And it was the best possible training I could possibly have received.

That wise man’s “training” has been coming back to my mind a lot lately, as a new Christian desperately in need of spiritual training.

There are many, many people, and many churches, and many celebrity Preachers, and many videos and Internet websites, eager to offer advice to new Christians about how to grow as a Christian. But as somebody brand new, emphasis on NEW, to Christ, how am I possibly to know whom to trust with my spiritual development?

I think I know the answer to that. The answer is the Bible. Everything I need to know is in the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word.

I keep coming back to that long-ago workplace training:

“My best advice is to close the door, hang out a sign that says, ‘Do Not Disturb’, and make time to read that whole book from beginning to end.”

My first mentor, on how to learn to do my new job right

I’m feeling that way about the Bible these days.

It’s the only true source of information that I know for sure cannot possibly lead me astray. It’s the Word of God. Nobody can improve on that.

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