Our Lectio Divina for today:
The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth. You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers. 1st Timothy 4: 1-2, 6-10 (MsgB)
There’s a lot of talk now-a-days about fake news.
With the advent of the internet, and its remarkable ability to network millions of people across the globe within minutes, it’s very easy for all kinds of stories, true and untrue, to circulate quickly. And as Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, is quoted to have said:
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
Apparently in Paul’s day, there were plenty of big lies circulating throughout the churches that the apostle and his co-laborers like Timothy and others had planted. Many of Paul’s epistles, letters we now call books of the New Testament, were written by this pastoral shepherd to address the many half-truths and down-right lies that were circulating widely amongst the common folk of the day.
Demonic illusions, Paul calls them, told by professional liars. Silly stories, dressed up as religion.
I wonder what language Paul might use to describe some of the nonsense being taught from pulpits in today’s seeker sensitive culture? Kinda reminds me of the famous quote from Mark Twain…
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics!
So, before we go any further with this finger-pointing, accusing others of propagating half-truths and downright lies, I must point out the same remedy I mentioned last time as we were addressing the importance of guarding the kalós, this precious treasure of pastoral ministry, in these ever-increasing turbulent times.
Any house-cleaning we do…must begin in our own home!
You see, Paul was right when he told Timothy, his young apprentice:
Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.
In today’s culture, finger-pointing, blame-shifting, and tweeting out louder than loud accusations seem to be the prescribed way to remedy problems when it comes to identifying fake news. The problem with this approach is that all it does is simply turn up the volume, making it harder and harder to hear the soft whisper of truth that awaits those who will quiet themselves and wait on God.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 NIV
Demonic Illusions, Professional Lies & Silly Stories.
Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics.
All dressed up in the name of religion.
Is that the invitation of the Master I hear? That quiet whisper calling my name?
Could it be that those who will best guard God’s kalós in the days ahead will be the quieter ones who will live a well-disciplined life of truth? Godly men and women who choose to practice the ancient arts of silence and solitude while embracing, in full, the quietness of God which enriches the soul and empowers our words?
My prayer: Jesus, my prayer, in these turbulent times, is not for a louder voice, but for a quieter soul. I don’t want to become a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal, but make me into a still, calm voice of truth, offering faith, hope and love in a generation that is so easily swayed by demonic illusions, professional lies, and silly stories. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me in these quiet ways. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where have I been caught in the trap of first, listening to, and then, believing and circulating lies, damned lies, and statistics? In what ways can I turn down my volume, practicing the ancient disciplines of solitude and silence, giving more time to quietness and listening, while cutting back on the shouting and finger-pointing that is so easily embraced by our culture?
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