Our Lectio Divina for today:
Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. (Our Savior God) wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered Himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth. 1st Timothy 1: 15a; 1st Timothy 2: 4-7 (MsgB)
Words. Words. Words.
Our culture is full of words, both written and spoken.
A recent University of Arizona study found that most people speak around 16,000 words per day. This study, by the way, also found no significant difference between male and female subjects, debunking previous claims that women speak over 10,000 more words in a day than men!
But, of course, those 16,000 words you and I speak each day is just the beginning. What about all those written words we employ in a 24-hour cycle? Let’s take texting for example. One study (2014) showed that 18.7 billion texts are sent every day around the world and that we Americans account for 8.5 billion of those texts, or approximately 33 texts per person per day! And then, there’s all the many words we use in composing emails, blogs, and other forms of written communication.
So in our big world of countless words, it’s easy to see why pastors, who probably use more words (particularly on Sundays!) than others, need to be constantly aware that our abundance of words just might be covering up the core message Jesus asks us to convey, as servants of the Living God.
As I see it, in today’s Lectio Divina, Paul does a masterful job, in a very few amount of words, inviting us to return to the core message, the primary “word,” that truly defines our Christian mission, this kalós, this precious treasure, we’ve been given as messengers of God’s love. Allow me here, to reduce Paul’s words to an even fewer number (three short sentences) so we might more easily grasp the simplicity of it all…
God wants every human being on earth to be rescued. Jesus of Nazareth is His chosen instrument for that work of salvation. This “message” is our message and we explain it best by modeling a Christ-centered life of simple faith and plain truth.
As one pastor friend once told me, “Marty, when it comes to rescuing people, it’s pretty clear from reading the Bible that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s Plan A…and there is no Plan B!”
You know, now that I see how simple and plain Paul makes it for Timothy, I wonder if it’s time for you and me to start re-thinking the number of words we use in trying to represent God’s message of hope to this broken world? Maybe it’s time to stop, look, and listen, and instead of gearing up our verbal barrage of religious jargon, we try reducing the bounty of our words while making much more room for the voice of the Master?
Hmm. Anybody wanna join me?
My prayer: Father God, I readily admit that over the years, I’ve complicated, and thus muddied, Your basic message of salvation by adding-in other words to the kalós, this precious treasure, of trusting Jesus, our Savior, and living a simple and plain life in Him. Holy Spirit, allow me the opportunity to simplify and downsize my many words so I might get back to the basic message of redemption I find here in Paul’s instructions to Timothy. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So, what additional “messages” have I added to the core message of Jesus, the Savior? Can I identify these added “words” by name and begin, today, the process of removing them, stripping out these add-ons which only serve to dilute the core message of the Gospel?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you guard the kalós, the precious treasure of pastoral ministry, in your life?
In this 26-session blog series, Kalós: Guarding the Precious Treasure, we explore the kalós*, this precious treasure of pastoral ministry that has been deposited into us by the work of the Holy Spirit. We invite you to come along with us, bookmarking this blog’s home page for easy, on-going referencing.
As you go through this blog series, we also suggest that you use the ancient tool of Lectio Divina as you approach each scriptural text we give you in this blog. Lectio Divina is a slow, intentional reading of the Holy Scriptures. Take your time as you ponder the text slowly, allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s Word for you as you read. Ask the Master as you read, “Jesus, what in this passage do I need to hear today?”
*So, what is kalós?
Kalós comes from a New Testament Greek word which simply means “good.” The apostle Paul, when writing to his young apprentice, Timothy, decided to combine this common adjective, kalós, with a second Greek word, parathéké, a noun which means a deposit or trust committed to one’s charge. As a result, the apostle ends up with one, very powerful phrase! A command that both Timothy, and you and I, truly need to take note of as we continue this ancient work of serving Christ and His Church! “Guard this kalós (this good work, this beautiful deposit, this precious treasure) placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.” 2nd Timothy 1: 14