This whole story began when I was volunteering a “577” in Perrysburg. The 577 is actually the street number for the Stranahan Foundation on Front Street. At that foundation is a library of sorts.
People come in, especially at lunch time, to sit in the open courtyard to eat lunch and visit, perhaps even pick up a book, or to rest comfortably on the settee in front of the fireplace stove in other weather. The real purpose of this outlet, however, is recirculating books. There are hundreds, even thousands of books, on shelves in this former carriage barn.
The upkeep is placed in the hands of volunteers representing various organizations. Interested groups put their name in and at the end of the year, four are drawn to take quarters of the upcoming year. They receive a percentage of the donations for their efforts.
People bring in books to donate. Books by the small bag or large box, books by the large bagful and books by several boxes at once.
The volunteers sort, organize and shelve these hundreds of books – sometimes hundreds of books daily. Visitors to the center search by subject, genre, title or author for books of their interest which they then purchase for a very nominal donation.
Sometimes books come in which are not appropriate or simply have outlived their usefulness. These are placed in a box for throw-away. from there, they go to a recycling station.
One day I had sorted and shelved books for what seemed a considerable period of time. As I cleaned up, I straightened the throw-away box and found a Bible! Now, I’m of the belief that nothing so demeaning should ever happen to a Bible, so I salvaged it and brought it home.
It was a different translation than I had and when I was studying a particular subject, I would consult that Bible. I found it was really speaking to my heart. Now I’m not belittling the old standard – the King James version – but, excuse me, I am not old English by birth or at heart. Sometimes I just get bogged down in that old version. Since I cut my teeth on the King James version, however, certain passages speak to me best in that language, like Psalm 23 or John 14.
Anyway, I soon began using this ‘recycled” Bible – The Living Bible – almost exclusively. I began carrying it to church as well as using it for study at home. Then one day, its spine broke and a whole block of pages came loose. I laid it back for repair, thinking I knew where I could get that done. Upon inquiry, however, I found the repair work is done only for a particular ministry.
So, I’ve been wanting to do something about it. The other day, I remembered the Christmas gift card I had received from a nephew this past winter. It was just waiting for something special to come along. This purchase would be that something special!
Now, I have a truly new Bible in the New Living Bible translation which is printed in a clear, very legible font. I find that feature a prerequisite these days.
So do I throw the other one away, as was its destiny a few years ago? No, I’ll send it to Christian Resources, a ministry that repairs and ships Bibles, study guides and other Christian literature to ministries worldwide. They’ll repair this scared book and its value to those who ultimately receive it is immeasurable. How many souls will come to know Christ because a Bible deemed useless by someone else has found its way into their hearts?
That Bible you don’t seem to easily understand? Maybe you should replace it with one that speaks today’s language and , therefore, speaks to your heart. The full story of Jesus and His grace is contained in the Bible. You and I need to know that message to truly know Him. Be sure to donate the replaced Bible because no Bible should ever be a throw-away item!