If you asked a series of highly regarded professions, what’s the most important thing in life, answers would vary. The 1991 film City Slickers sought to address this question, using a man played by Billy Crystal who is going through a mid-life crisis. After running with the bulls in Spain, a friend suggests an excursion out west, reliving the cattle drives of old like a cowboy. On this vacation with the guys, Crystal meets Jack Palance who plays Curly Washburn, their trail guide. During a two week trip from New Mexico to Colorado, Crystal and Palance develop an unlikely friendship before his sudden death. Left in the middle of no where without a leader, friends played by Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern step up to lead the herd back to the ranch. Rejecting an initial offer to finish what they started, Crystal has a change of heart, applying the knowledge Curly bestowed upon him. When a calf born during their journey is swept away by a raging river, Crystal risks his life to save this animal. Following a dramatic rescue, Crystal comes to understood what Curly meant by the most important thing in life.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to Your precepts], Psalm 119:9.
My youngest child Lydia started high school today. As a parent, I don’t know where the time has gone, flying by without any signs of stopping. Thus, if I could bestow one simple suggestion to my daughter and others like her, its look to the book daily. When you read the passage above, the Psalmist claims that the only way keep a young person pure is by mediating on the Bible. As a former student and teacher, I understand the desire to pursue good grades. Yet, there is a temptation to do whatever is takes to obtain an A, even if it means saying or writing things contrary to what you believe. After receiving a poor grade on my first college English paper, I brushed aside my convictions to construct a paper acceptable, entertaining and popular in the world’s eyes. While I received an A, bringing my overall average up to a B, I betrayed the precepts of the Bible. I guess what I am trying to say is that there is a fine line between being the best that you can be and staying true to your beliefs.
With all my heart I have sought You, [inquiring of You and longing for You]; Do not let me wander from Your commandments [neither through ignorance nor by willful disobedience]. Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You, Psalm 119:10-11.
The concept of meditating on the word of God may be awkward or overwhelming for a millennial. However, what the Psalmist eludes to in the passage above is that the Bible serves as a filter for human minds. As individuals look to this book, the more you become aware of God’s desire and expectations. As you examine, inquire and study how the Bible applies to life, the Bible serves as a flashlight, shining light into formerly unknown areas. Unfortunately, when Bibles begins to collect dust, minds can forget the difference between right and wrong. As gray areas expand, human nature will rationalize acts, behavior or words that stray from God’s commandments. This is why I pray that all my children develop the habit of looking to the book, the Word of God. If the Bible can change and transform my life, then these living words, Hebrews 4:12, still possess the power to revive souls today.
by Jay Mankus