In elementary school I remember using the idea of an “input/output” machine in math. Our workbooks had pictures like the following:
As we learned basic math, we filled in the missing numbers. The input number would be provided, as well as how “the machine” changed the number, and we had to figure out the output number. It made sense to me, and though I don’t like math much anymore, at the time it seemed fun.
Currently, I’m involved in 3 Bible studies–2 that meet weekly, and 1 that meets every other week.
Admittedly, it’s a bit much, but they happened to all be on topics or books I found interesting, and I didn’t want to miss out on any of them. It doesn’t hurt that many of the friends I might normally hang out with while I’m living with my parents aren’t around right now, so Bible studies seemed like a good option for filling my time.
They’ve become much more than a way to fill my time though. These Bible studies become a perfect example of how the input/output machine isn’t just for elementary school math; it’s for life.
This past summer I had a lot of free time, and I didn’t use it well at all. The quality “input” into my life was severely lacking. Even looking back at my blog posts from the summer months, I can see the truth in this. Most of them had a more negative tone and far fewer mentions of God and my faith.
Attending 3 Bible studies has drastically changed my “input” this fall. I read the chapters for each one, look up Bible verses, and have lively, thought-provoking discussions on a variety of topics; but they spend much more time in my head than the time it takes to simply perform those tasks. Which is the way it’s supposed to be.
Is my “output,” in terms of the way I live my life, changing drastically because of this? I don’t know. But I can tell the difference in where my mind wanders, and most definitely in the posts I write. It’s much harder to ignore God when I’m reading, thinking, and talking about him on a regular basis. The input has gotten better, both in terms of quality and quantity, and the output has as well.
Participating in 3 Bible studies is a bit extreme–I probably won’t do it again. But at this point in my life, there are a lot worse things I could be doing with my time.
Til next time…