A skeptic visited a rabbi, one night in the dark past, with a demand. “Teach me your Law,” he said, “while I stand here on one foot!” The story, I think, goes on that the old teacher proceded to recite to him the Sh’ma: A single verse from Deuteronomy that is the beginning point for Biblical understanding:
“Hear O Israel (Sh’ma, Y’sroyil), the Lord your God is One, and you shall love the Lord with all...!”
The story goes on that the skeptic became a believer in the rabbi’s God, and went on to learn much of what lies beyond that fathomless first step.
In our “Modern, Western” culture, even as much of that one verse as we have quoted here would be too long. No more do we demand to be taught while standing on one leg. Now it’s reduced to the time it takes to switch to the next radio station, or glance at a bumper sticker of a car braking for the exit ramp. It isn’t just ideas, of course: Try looking through a cookbook from a generation or three ago and you will see foods that you have never heard of, and that simply because nobody takes the time to cook such things. Still, we try to condense our messages onto eight-inch strips of vinyl, and half-second sound bites. For the greater part, all we get is affinity statements: People who already agree with the statement and the cliche might honk in agreement, but anyone else is apt to shake their heads in disbelief.
“God said it, I believe it, That settles it!”
On the other hand there are the open-minded slogans like, “My karma just ran over your dogma,”
The first slogan tells a fellow Evangelical that the driver holds to a “high” view of the Bible. A member of another group might think it really says, “The Earth is flat!” The second sticker tells a New Age fellow-traveler that the driver is open-minded to matters of world spirituality For a person who is more familiar with both terms, the message would be entirely different.
The Bible has several verses, and huge passages, that, basically, say, “God has so much in store for you! Just do the math!” His benefits might take some sizeble blocks of time to comprehend, but they have been proven time and again to be worth all the time in the world. Besides, with what time we do have in this life, what better use for this little bit we have than investing it for eternal benefits?