Summary: Knowledge of the Bible is essential for us to life fruitfully, and it is critical to pass on that knowledge to our children, for whom it can be made exciting.
I’m glad they’ve brought "All in the Family" back on TV. I never did see what the fuss was, frankly, when it came out the first time. And now it still seems fresh and insightful and funny.
To me, the best pieces of business in "All in the Family" are those scenes in which Edith starts out to tell some story, and begins to chase rabbits and go far afield, so that before long she’s lost her way completely. Something like, "Archie, I sent Gloria to the store to get you some pills for your headache, because she knows just the kind to get, you know the pink ones with the green spots … I always thought that color was nice on a pill, makes you think it’s sweet like sugar ... and when we was out of sugar last week I put two of them pills in your coffee ... cause I know you don’t never want me to serve your coffee without sugar .."
By this time, as you may remember, Archie is screaming, "Get to the pernt, Edith", and is using his hands to tie an imaginary noose in an imaginary rope, with which he proceeds to pretend to hang himself just to escape the sheer boredom of listening to Edith’s blather!
In all those words, somewhere, there is something important. But Archie can’t find it and Edith can’t communicate it. Too many words that just don’t matter.
Today you and I suffer from something called "information overload." Too many words and too much communication that doesn’t matter. We are swamped by televisions that receive scores of cable channels, radios that pick up signals from around the world, newspapers that print everything from classified ads to horoscopes, and, worst of all, computers that record and store everything imaginable. We gather and store information which seems pointless. Why does the fellow at Radio Shack need to know my telephone number when I go in there and buy a couple of 79-cent batteries? Information overload; too much data, too many words! And what is really being said?
It reminds me of the quotation attributed to Henry David Thoreau, who, when told that a telegraph line had been completed between the states of Maine and Texas, asked, “”Do the people of Maine have anything to say to the people of Texas?" What does all this communication really mean? How do you know what words are important? And when the phone system broke down one day this week, how many of the conversations which were interrupted really mattered?
But information overload may not be new. In the thirteenth century before Christ, Moses knew that people hear too many words and are bombarded with too many ideas. Somebody needs to help them understand which ones are important. Otherwise they act as if none of it is important. And so as Moses, the great leader of the Hebrew nation, neared the end of his career, he faced the task of focusing the people on what mattered, what really mattered. Moses, preparing to turn over the reins of leadership to Joshua, wanted to make sure that the people understood that all he had taught them was important ... vitally important.
And so the Book of Deuteronomy presents Moses, not long before the end of his life, first writing down the law of God, and then Moses saying to all the people, "Take to heart all the words that I am giving in witness against you today; give them as a command to your children, so that they may diligently observe all the words of this law. This is no trifling matter for you, but rather your very life. "
Are you suffering information overload? Are you drowning in a sea of words and you don’t know any longer which ones are important and which ones are just Edith blathering on? "Take to heart all the words [God is] giving .. . give them as a command to your children ... this is no trifling matter for you, but rather your very life."
Taking to heart God’s word ... and giving it, sharing it, with our children ... this is no trifling matter. This is no little task. ’This is no light-duty option. This is important.
For these are the wonderful words of life.
First, notice that Moses’ counsel is that we adults "take to heart all these words". If we expect to have anything to share with our children, we have to own this first. It has to be ours, it has to be vital for us. It will do no good to tell our children what they ought to know if it is not life to us first. It will be of no value to share with our children it we do not make it a part of the very fabric of our own lives. "Take to heart all these words ... this is no trifling matter for you, but rather your very life."