Here in the south, we have these restaurants called Cracker Barrel. On every table is a little puzzle made out of wood and golf tees. Sort of like ‘checkers’ (or chess for you really smart people), you ‘jump’ the tees over each other with the goal of having only one left at the end.
Somewhere along the line, I came by the solution to this deal. “Directions for being a genius” it says. I can look at this piece of paper and solve this puppy perfectly. Every time. Printed at the bottom: “There are many more ways to work this puzzle…”. I don’t know why I’d ever need another one. In fact, I carried this one around in my wallet for years. I don’t remember pulling it out to solve the puzzle at the Cracker Barrel. Ever.
Why? Because that would be too easy. People wouldn’t think I was a genius…they’d think I was weird. Besides, it’s more fun to try to remember how to solve it. Or to impress yourself and your ‘peeps’ by figuring it out on your own.
The Cracker Barrel puzzle gives us a peek into how people approach life. Some people jump in, screw up, paint themselves into a corner and grind to a halt. They start over and do it again. Over and over… and never get it right. Others look for the answer key. They want it wrinkle-free, move by move, no missteps…until they proudly stand victorious like that single tee at the end.
Some of these folks look at the Bible as the ‘answer’ key. I’ve heard people say the Bible is ‘an instruction manual for life’. A preacher once said “the answer to every question in life except mathematics is in this Book.” But we’ve all seen what happens when people take that approach to the Bible and to life. They pull out a verse and make it say what they want it to say. Actor Jack Black made headlines making a toast with a shrimp cocktail while quoting a verse out of Leviticus (chapter 11, vs. 9-12) which, taken literally and out of context, says “eating shellfish likewise is an abomination.” Black says the Bible must have been “written by an idiot.”
I don’t look at the Bible as the answer to the puzzle. But I’m an idiot if I don’t read and learn from it. I love the Good Book…and I love it’s Author even more.
I believe the Bible is the story of God. As I read it, I learn who He is, what He’s like, what He’s done for other people, His character and attributes, His patience and His passion. To make it clearer, He even came to earth (as Jesus) and ‘practiced what He preached’, demonstrating “the way, the truth and the life.” Then He gave us a living, breathing ‘answer key’ … the Holy Spirit. A readily available, 24/7/365 guide to help us deal with every puzzle… with every failed attempt to get it right, and to affirm our every move in the right direction.
Life is a puzzle. Aren’t you glad He didn’t leave us to figure it out all alone?
Question: What’s your approach to life’s puzzles? “Try it – do it- fix it”? “Ready-fire-aim”? Plan, prepare, plan and then prepare some more? Caution to the point of ‘failure to launch’? Share here…..