My friend Bob was instructing our introductory Scripture class in lectio divina, and was warning them about the dangers of simply opening the Bible at random and taking whatever their eye fell on first as a direct message from the Holy Spirit. He told this story:
Ten years out of high school, Tom ran into his old classmate Fred, once informally voted ‘least likely to succeed.’ But Fred was driving a $70,000 car and sporting an imported suit.
“Fred!” said Tom, “You’re sure looking prosperous—how’d you do it?”
“It’s the easiest thing, Tom,--my grandma left me a little legacy, and the Lord guided me to turn it into a lot of money! I just took a Bible, flipped it open at random and put my finger down on the page. It landed on the word ‘oil’ so I invested in an oil well and the money started rolling in. So then I went back to the Bible, flipped it open again, and this time my finger came down on ‘gold’ so I bought a bunch of gold coins and doubled my money in a year. It’s really been amazing!”
Tom congratulated him and hurried home to pick up his Bible. “If it works for dumb old Fred, it’s got to work for me,” he thought.
So, he flipped open his Bible, plopped his finger down on the page, and looked down to read it. It said “Chapter 11.”
(Ba dump bump.)