In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”, he presents a concept that has been discussed at length in books, magazines, TV, and radio since its publication. Mr. Gladwell’s research showed that those obtaining mastery in their field had spent roughly 10,000 hours in preparation. In other words, a guitarist who has practiced for 10,000 hours or a speaker who had devoted 10,000 hours to honing his craft would be at the top of their game. Contrast this with a recent survey from the American Bible Society that found 41% of church-going people did not open their Bible a single time during the past week, and another 40% opened it only once or twice. The survey did not detail how many hours were spent in the Word by those opening it once or twice, but I think we can infer it was not many.
We have a problem here. At the pace that most so-called Christians are studying God’s playbook, more than 80% of them will never achieve mastery in the understanding and application of God’s Word. Looking at the results of the survey, that’s a very conservative estimate. Only 19% said they read their Bible four or more times during the week. Assuming they spent 15 minutes per day, 6 days each week, it would still take them over 128 years to log 10,000 hours in the Word. In other words, they never get there.
I realize I may be taking this to extremes. Certainly time spent listening to sermons, reading Christian literature, and listening to music with lyrics steeped in Biblical truth all contribute to our learning and understanding of the Scriptures. Still, I can’t help but think there is something seriously wrong when far more people are willing to spend time honing earthly skills than Christ-followers are to develop mastery of the teachings of their Savior and Lord. The Bible tells us the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). That’s the kind of thing one would want to practice handling!
We are in a cosmic battle of epic proportions. We all know in the end God will win. We fight not for the ultimate outcome, but rather for all the souls in the balance. Jesus will come back, banish Satan for good, and rule the earth. But how many will be lost along the way? Every day your relatives, friends, neighbors, and many more that you have yet to meet, are dying in their sin. They are destined for an eternity separated from God. If this doesn’t break your heart then you don’t fully understand Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
We are ill-prepared for the battle. By selfishly pursuing earthly desires and neglecting the Word of God, we are allowing countless souls to be lost to Satan. Their blood is on our hands. This burden is ours to bear. We know the mission; we have the tools, but it is up to us to engage or not. Followers of Jesus should be more committed to their cause than anyone else. No one should be more devoted than us. Let’s recommit to opening God’s Word and start working toward mastery of the tools and weapons He has placed in our hands.