This is a story I once heard told by a missionary at my church. The story has been swirling in my head lately, which means God has something for me to glean from it.
Once upon a time in Africa, a missionary gave an umbrella to a little boy. The boy was thrilled. He'd never had such a wonderful thing before. Every day he paraded through the village with his umbrella under his arm. He found a special place in his hut to hang it so it wouldn't get dirty or damaged. He thought about his umbrella often, sometimes stroking the tough fabric, running his fingers over the curved handle, and even poking the ferrule into the ground to make patterns. He checked that the snap on the strap that kept it closed stayed nice and shiny. And every day, he would tuck his umbrella under his arm and walk through the village.
The missionary who had made the boy this fine gift returned to the village one day to see the boy proudly displaying his umbrella. A fine mist fell from the leaden sky, threatening more rain to come.
The missionary asked the boy, "Why don't you open the umbrella?"
"Open it?" The boy looked at the missionary, puzzled.
The missionary showed the boy how to unstrap it, unfurl it and separate the ribs. He held it over their heads, sheltering them from the storm. The boy learned it wasn't enough to carry the gift. It was meant for use.
The umbrella in the story is like the Bible in our lives. We carry it around, to church, in our purses, put it on our bedside table. We talk about it, look at it, know it is there. But do we use it for its intended purpose? Do we open it, do we take shelter in its truth from the storms of life?
2 Timothy 3:15-17 (King James Version)
15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.