Scan. Stack on the cart. Organize alphabetically by genre. Organize alphabetically by author. Reshelve.
My routine nearly every day as a teacher's assistant in the media center involves checking in books that have been returned and reshelving them. While this task is sometimes monotonous, I have plenty of time to think, allowing thoughts to grow and flourish...
Sometimes a book's spot is saved, as if the two novels on either side have been anticipating the return of an old friend. This slim gap makes my job less strenuous (some books are heavy!), sliding the book into the open space and moving on to find the next. I like when I can comfortably return a book because it's easier.
But I don't want to live like that.
Press on with me, friend, and let me explain.
I don't want to live on the shelf, hoping to be returned as soon as possible. Comfortably easing into– or staying in– a familiar spot does not create a wonder-filled existence. I don't want to be impeccably preserved without being opened and read. It doesn't really matter what's inside a book if it's not expressed or understood. The most beautiful words don't inspire awe if they stay on the shelf. Books on the shelf become dusty, yellowed, and stiff.
I want to be
the shelf. If books are created to be read, then we are created to live, love, and worship.
Even more, I want this story to go deeper. God, the Author and editor, writes and adds and refines. Let notes be written between the lines. Doodle in the margins. Highlight heart-piercing passages. Pages will be torn, corners will be tattered, and covers may be bent back. This hurts. It's uncomfortable and stretching. But, if we were books, those would be the signs of being loved (& loving in return). We'd be used by the Author to teach, encourage, and start a spark.
You see, living on the shelf isn't really living. Comfortable living as a follower of Jesus is not promised (actually, just the opposite). But isn't that, going into the unknown with the One who knows all things, really living? To get off the shelf and live? Only in Jesus can we live– fully and completely. That's why He has come.
It's going to be messy and imperfect. It would be easier to sit back and watch. But when I'm sitting in neutral, I know this is not where I should be. Deep down in my heart, it's not at all where I want to be. Will you come off the shelf with me? Walk and live confidently in the love of our Creator, sharing His story through a life surrendered to Him in trust.
If you read my story, see my life, or hear my words... I pray you see a reflection of the Greatest, most perfect Story. A testimony to Jesus, His holy righteousness, and His victory. An echo of the profound love, the undeserved mercy, and abounding grace of God the Father.