Over the years preachers acquire a variety of “goodies” that people give to them in appreciation for their service to them. One such gift hangs on our wall, catching the attention of each person entering our home. It is a picture of a man reading the Word of God, with the aid of an old oil lamp and a pair of “cheaters”.
Ted Tinquist, an artist, lay preacher, pilot, along with a host of other abilities, painted this picture in 1966. While the more popular picture, “Giving Thanks” was painted in Bovey, Minnesota, this picture was painted in Cohasset, a short distance away.
In his travels, Ted had encountered an elderly farmer in the Blackberry area. They had become good friends. Ted discovered that this farmer had a ritual that he himself had performed for years. At the end of each day’s work, he bathed himself, attired himself in his finest clothing, and then sat down to read and study the Word of God. For him, there was no other way to display his love and reverence for the Lord and His Word. He had to render to the Lord what he believed would most display his reverence and respect for THE BOOK.
In this era of “casualness” I fear that we have lost the respect that was once felt by all. Hats stay on in restaurants, and recently I noticed that someone had to be told to remove theirs when they entered the church. This casualness has resulted in a carry-over into Christian circles, and I observe abuse in the house of the Lord. In particular, there is little respect displayed for the Lord — especially for the Word of God. Because of the many versions that flood our presses and their availability, in my opinion, God’s Word is not always treated properly.
Perhaps a fresh look at Psalm 119 would be fitting. There we find verse after verse emphasizing the value, the respect, and the reverence that one should develop for God’s Word. A verse like Joshua 1:8 needs re-emphasis: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Again we need to look at 2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth.” (NASB)
For almost 35 years that picture has served to remind me of the preciousness of God’s Word and the keenness with which I should approach it and HIM.