Jun 8 2014

It’s Not a Competition

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“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful…” 2 Timothy 3:16

On our recent adventure to Nevada and Utah Rob overheard a brief conversation between a husband and wife at Cedar Breaks National Monument.  We were all at Sunset Overlook, a truly spectacular location.  The man’s wife after only a few seconds at the overlook let her husband know she was ready to go.  She then tersely added, “I like Bryce Canyon better.”  Rob and I found the woman’s comment both amusing and sad.  Rob said to me, “I didn’t know they were in competition.”

Bryce AmphitheaterI have been to Bryce Canyon a number of times and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  I guess if I had to choose I would probably agree with the woman that I like Bryce Canyon National Park better than Cedar Breaks National Monument, but the thing is we don’t have to choose.  Can we not appreciate both places for their own unique beauty?  Is it a requirement that we compare everything or rank them?

Thor's Hammer BCSome people do seem to think everything’s a competition. Even the Bible gets caught up in the madness.  I’ve heard people say they prefer the New Testament over the Old Testament or the Gospels over Paul’s epistles.  Again, I understand that we will naturally be drawn to some things over others but that does not mean we are not to pay attention to the things we like less. How foolish it would be for any Christian to read only the Gospels and not the epistles as well.  Or for that matter, only the New Testament.  Sure, we have the right to like some things better than others but when it comes to God’s Books—the Scriptures and Creation—we must learn not to neglect what we don’t like.  It’s all there for a reason.  We cannot begin to understand God if we don’t pay attention to all of His words in both Books.

e_CES0783The woman’s words and actions at Cedar Breaks reminded me of a scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation movie where Chevy Chase’s character pulls up to an overlook in the Grand Canyon, looks at it for about two seconds, nods his head up and down a couple of times and then gets back into the car and drives off.  Surely we can do better than that.  There is so much to learn and discover in God’s Books but we’ll never get much out of either if we don’t slow down and begin to pay more attention to all that is actually there.   No doubt we’ll like some parts more than others but let’s not forget this isn’t a competition and that there’s something important to be learned in all of it.

–Chuck

(I took the top and bottom images at Cedar Breaks National Monument and the two middle ones at Bryce Canyon National Park.)