Article from The Gospel Coalition
By Sarah Kuswadi | 26 January 2023
My Bible study meets weekly on Wednesdays. Generally, it’s at our place and we have dinner together beforehand. It’s biblical, encouraging, heart-warming and fun.
Some weeks, however, it’s not something I feel like doing. The house will need a clean; we will be out of some vital ingredient for dinner; the kids will have some activity that’s been rescheduled to Wednesday nights—the same night as Bible study. Hosting Bible study will mean having to finish the night with a pile of washing and cleaning (when I would much rather just drop off to sleep).
I should add here that I am an introvert, and while I love people, I do not get my energy from being surrounded by them—particularly not late at night. At 10 pm on a random Wednesday night, the only thing that I want to see is the back of my eyelids. Good friends call me a relational introvert—as I really enjoy talking to people and seeing how they are going—but I need my own time to re-energise. Let the record reflect that I see no need to apologise for this; we are all created differently in God’s image!
Late one Tuesday evening, my husband and I were marinating some chicken in preparation for Bible Study the following night. We had forgotten we needed to do this, and it was late. We ended up having an argument about the best way to cut chicken—something neither of us would normally feel particularly passionate about; the fatigue and burden of organising and preparing had got to us.
Last term, we weren’t able to go to Bible study for reasons to do with travel, and I’ll be honest with you, at first, I enjoyed the break. That first week, when Bible study wasn’t at our house, and all I had to worry about was cooking for my family, I mostly felt relief. I went to bed when I wanted. I enjoyed not having to clean up before and after. It was nice not to have to worry about how late things were going to get.
But the week after, it was not nearly as sweet. I missed seeing my friends—yes, the introvert missed people! I missed learning from God’s word and praying together. I found myself reminded of Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
The many great things that happen at Bible study outweigh whatever burdens there might be in house cleaning, food preparation, and staying up later than my brain would like.
- There is Sonny* who actively engages my kids while at dinner with talk about things that they are specifically interested in and will suggest good ideas for science projects.
- There’s Kyle, who, even though he is very tired after work, will play sport with my kids while dinner is being prepared and then engage them in a discussion about who are the best players.
- There’s June, who always volunteers to bring food (even if I say it’s looking like we’ll have enough); who comes with chocolate—’cos who doesn’t love chocolate?—and next-level food cooked from scratch!
- There’s Xanthe, who has just embarked on full time work, and finds the hours quite an adjustment, but still tries to make it to Bible study every week.
- There’s Justin, who is very senior at work and on a variety of boards, but never misses Bible study.
- There’s Zoe; in a high stress job and working 6 days a week, but who knows how to sow the words of Jesus’ love into her conversation with others.
- There’s Zander, who has heavy things to deal with in his work and family but shoulders the load with God’s help.
- There’s Maggie, trying to navigate a new job and a change in career.
- There’s Emma, dealing with food intolerance issues while training to teach Religious Instruction.
- There’s Leo, studying at Bible college.
- There’s Mich & Matt; praying for the safe arrival of their baby.
- And there’s my husband, my favourite person.
When we are together, there is lots of laughter, good food, prayer, and discussion—and many burdens to share. We discuss and Bible-flick our way through difficult passages as we seek to understand the Bible and God better.
The people who come to our Bible study don’t care about the state of our floors. They don’t expect a 3-course meal. They come for the important stuff.
The other week, we met at June’s place and she cooked dinner. What a delight! We all sat around her kitchen table and folded spring rolls for a meals ministry. It was good for my soul. There was so much laughter, joy, encouragement, and support.
So my encouragement to you, reader, is to go to a Bible study every week. Lay out the troubles on your heart together and bring them to God. Don’t put up walls and create barriers that aren’t there. Share and sit at the feet of Jesus together. It’s that time of year when we sign up to join Bible study—don’t miss out or procrastinate. Look to Jeremiah:
This is what the Lord says:
Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.
*names have been changed.