When I was in the sixth grade, one of the projects we had to do for social studies was make a salt map of China. I had never heard of a salt map before. The teacher handed out instructions on how to make a salt map. We had two weeks before we had to turn in the assignment.
I was A.D.D. before they had a name for it. I didnít give the salt map another thought. It wasnít as if she didnít remind us periodically that we needed to be working on it. The day before they were due, she reminded us once again. I went home that afternoon in a panic. I told my mom I needed a lot of salt in a hurry. She had table salt and rock salt. I took a piece of construction paper and globbed a bunch of Elmerís glue on it then poured the salt on it. I couldnít get it to cooperate with me, so I did my best to reproduce the geographical features of China by globbing on more glue and salt until I had a pretty good mound where there were supposed to be mountains. I wondered if it was going to dry overnight.
To my relief, it was dry in the morning. I had to be careful to keep it flat so it didnít come apart. I also had to be careful not to touch it so I didnít knock off any of the salt on the school bus.
I was horrified when I arrived at school. My salt map looked nothing like anyone elseís. They appeared to be made of clay or dough with the geographic features beautifully molded on them. They were mounted on some sort of cardboard and were painted with appropriate colors for the mountains and the rivers. I wanted to drop mine in the trash can, but it was too late. The teacher was already taking it from me. She tried to compliment me, but I was already so embarrassed and ashamed of my work.
Paul wrote, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15)."
If only I had been more diligent and had not waited till the last minute. If only I had handled accurately the instructions by reading them.
Is there a message here for me? Is there a message for you? Sometimes shame and embarrassment comes in our Christian walk due to lack of diligence and Bible study. Lack of diligence for me sometimes amounts to not being steadfast in my personal study and prayer time. It doesnít take long for that to show. What is it for you? Lack of diligence could be something as simple as church attendance, lack of prayer, or simply failing to encourage someone. Instead of sheepishly making excuses, letís be more diligent in all areas of our walk with God, including prayer, Bible study, worship, and especially in encouraging one another. We all need it.