I drove to Peterborough on Thursday, not really encouraged about my work. There is so much that needs to be done – far more than can be handled by what my budget allows for human resources. Not really sure what the meeting in Peterborough would hold, I felt a slight, but persistent, sense of despondency. I arrived at the meeting, alongside several of my fellow District Directors, to hear from the Director of Scripture Resources for the Canadian Bible Society. Joel talked to us about his hopes, dreams, and plans for the Bible Stores that are operated by each district across the country.
He told us excitedly about his desire to make sure the stores are supported with excellent Bible and Bible-related products; his plans to offer online services for customers; his hope for new and better things for the stores, which are a visible presence for the Society throughout Canada. He also gave each of us a “book table in a binder” – a tool that we can take to churches so that congregations can look at products being offered by CBS, right down to the actual print size in Bibles, and place orders. In this way, people will have easy access to a copy of the Scriptures in a language, and version, they understand.
This got me, and the other District Directors, excited about what God may do with our retail ministry at CBS. It’s pretty hard for one store in Toronto to serve a district that runs from Mississauga to Trenton, Owen Sound to Bracebridge to Bancroft. The “book table in a binder”, and the promise of online access, will open many doors for people to obtain a Bible so that God will speak to them through his Word.
In Scripture, we read, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27.17, NLT). I walked into that meeting feeling pretty dull, but walked out of it feeling sharp. That’s what fellow believers can do for each other.
It doesn’t have to involve presentations, meetings or retail matters. It can be simply a warm smile, a firm handshake, a joyful embrace. It can involve words of encouragement from another. It’s the genius of community, and why the church was, despite its flaws, one of God’s greatest ideas. The Lord puts us in community for a reason – to encourage, edify, and sometimes to correct and reprove one another.
Each of us, in our walk of faith, needs to be sharp. Heaven knows, the devil loves it when God’s people are dull. So I thank God for my friend Joel, who sharpened me up on Thursday. I thank God for the many followers of Jesus who have sharpened me over the years. I hope, and pray, that I have been able, now and again, to do the same for others.
How about you? Who are you hanging around with that can sharpen you? And whom are you sharpening in the faith? God knows the difference each of us can make for one another.