We all take for granted our ability to read and just how deeply entrenched we are with it. Breakfast wouldn’t be breakfast if I couldn’t read the calorie content or the number of grams of trans fat contained in my cereal or eggs. It seems we all are driven by attaining knowledge of such things these days although I am inconsistent in tracking my daily intake of dietary proportions. I smile and go on about my business, with little thought or appreciation of the fact that I can read.
While enjoying my second cup of coffee I notice it’s nearing the time to head out for morning appointments penciled-in on my calendar. So I hop in the car and take off down the road where I am met with stop signs, traffic lights, motorists signals, and a ‘Men At Work’ sign along the highway as I look at route information on my GPS for directions to my destination.
In this brief encounter I read a clock, a calendar, the changing of colored lights, blinkers, signs, and information on an electronic device. There’s a lot that meets the eye in just a few moments of travel. Matter of fact, it is said that the human engages nearly 200 items of information in each mile traveled. Now think if you were unable to read or process the information you gather in a days’ time. How would you survive? This was brought to my attention as I mused over a billboard I saw along our interstate that read “ILLITERATE??? Dial 1-800-READ.”
For some reason that sign struck a chord that had me laughing my way down the road. I thought, ‘if someone one is illiterate, how would they ever make sense of that sign?’ …And then to realize that the sign was placed there by the Literacy Council was even more amusing to me.
Yes, reading is a blessed gift, a tool we take for granted. But consider for a moment if you were unable to read, or never given the privilege of learning to read. Life for us would be pretty drab and without meaning. You see, we’ve become accustomed to reading as a way of life. Reading, however, is a learned ability.
As believers in Christ we find reading to be of utmost importance, for through the gateway of reading we glean directives from Gods Word to maintain relationship with God and man. I don’t know about you but I find being literate a necessity of great blessing in life. …But step with me into another realm of our world; into isolated areas where people live beyond the reach of the gospel –with no knowledge of God, the Bible, or Jesus; and with no ability to read. They have no need to read because, for them, there is nothing to read. They are simply oral people.
It is such ones that New Tribes missionaries endeavor to reach. In reaching them with the story of the Bible –the message of God & the gospel, we seek to equip them with the tools and skills to read God’s Word. …So Bibles are needed, which also means you need a Bible translation. …And if you have a Bible translation, then you need readers. You see, literacy is an important element of missionary work although you will find no mention of literacy or translation mentioned in the Bible. …So why do we pour our lives into such efforts?
We believe a clear, comprehensible understanding of God’s Word is a necessity to appropriate faith in Christ… for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So God’s Word, the Bible, is essential in the task of establishing churches. …And if having Gods Word is essential in establishing churches, then having the ability to read the Word is also of value in grasping a clear understanding of Gods will for our lives.
Yes, reading is necessary in establishing thriving churches amongst unreached people.
If you are able to read this message then I hope you will purpose to partner with missionaries laboring to bring Gods Word to Bible-less people and that you will support them in prayer as they teach people to read. Perhaps you’ve never seen yourself as a contributor in the task of taking the gospel to such ones. But if you are able to read, then we could use you in teaching others to read.
How about it? Jesus said we are to ‘Make disciples among the nations.’
Don’t be illiterate when it comes to joining in the task.