The Bible has been Tuni Parata’s best friend for a long time.
It has cheered her up when she’s down, given her advice when she needed it, and helped her through difficult times—including one occasion when the pair were caught ‘hanging out’ on the job.
Tuni was embroiled in a national media storm a few months ago while in the middle of an employment dispute with SkyCity after she was caught carrying her Bible during work hours, which was against the casino’s uniform policy.
It was a hard and long process as SkyCity attempted disciplinary action, but in the end Tuni won the battle to keep her close companion with her—so long as it isn’t read while working.
Tuni revealed to War Cry that she not only takes her Bible to work, but everywhere she goes. Mainly because it gives her strength and the feeling of the love and joy of Jesus, and also because it’s a great friend, always able to put a smile on her face no matter what she’s facing in life.
‘Basically, for me, I believe the Word of God is truth,’ says Tuni. ‘It helps you through your life and all things that you do. Even in times of trouble for me, reading words from the Bible always helps me get through it and even helps me to understand what I’m going through. There’s so much within the Word and it can always put a smile on my face. When I think of the Word and Jesus, I just feel like Jesus himself is trying to make me smile! That’s why I carry [the Bible] with me.’
Tuni believes many people today have slowly forgotten about the words of the Bible or struggle to keep them close. She feels the Bible needs to be embraced more but recognises that carrying one around like she does may be ‘out of fashion’ for many. ‘I guess we’re struggling all the time to keep the Word with us. We can easily get caught up with stuff—I know I can—and forget about God’s Word, which we need all the time.
‘I don’t know if carrying the Bible around has gone out of date with people. I mean, with all these new instruments like iPads ... I don’t know if people are reading it from there. Maybe having a book is out of fashion, but I find carrying a book much cheaper than one of those other things,’ laughs Tuni.
She also wonders if reading the Bible online brings distractions, perhaps leading people to things like Facebook that could keep them from reading the Word. She prefers the more old-fashioned approach, saying, ‘So I carry a Bible —and it doesn’t go out of date.’
Tuni has advice for those who are reluctant Bible readers: just give it a go. ‘People really don’t know what they’re actually missing until they start reading it more. You only have to read one verse in the Bible and you can get a lot of meaning from it. It lasts forever, as God is alive and living. I wouldn’t feel complete without my Bible. He’s one friend I never want to give up!’
As we all know, a best friend is there for us in hard times, helps put a smile on our face, gives good advice (even when we may not want it!), and is a dependable companion for life. If that’s what you’re looking for, look no further than the Bible. Because the Bible has all these traits and can be everyone’s best friend.
By John Lazo-Ron (abridged from War Cry, 08 September 2012, p3)
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