This fall, I've been participating in Beth Moore's latest Bible study entitled Children of the Day. The study encompasses First and Second Thessalonians. As per usual for a Beth Moore study, it has been insightful, informative, and has at times left me awed and amazed with wonder at the God who loves us in spite of ourselves.
As much as I've enjoyed the study, there as yet hadn't been anything profound for which I would have wanted to write a post. Moore has pretty much covered all of the important stuff and I prefer to only post about elements in scripture that the Holy Spirit has brought to my attention, outside of Moore's commentary. There has been much to learn, but nothing that had simply "Wowed!" me...
until this week.
Moore had once again (as in the study of James), asked the participants if they are so willing, to take a stab at memorizing both books of the Bible. You can see the huge impact the one small book of James has had on my life by the simple fact that on the right side of this blog, the topical index has 38 posts referenced to James. That's almost more than any other book I have listed. The lingering influence James has had upon me is in large part due to the prompting by Beth Moore to memorize it. I learned that memorizing scripture is not only a great mechanism for giving my brain a much needed workout...it truly makes God's Spirit-breathed Word come alive. I've heard Moore talk of her desire to have scripture be "bone deep". That is what the memorization of James did for me.
This is only the first month of my attempt at memorization, so chapter one of 1 Thessalonians is what I've been working on. Right away I found a few verses to claim for Abbey and her team in Houston. Daily believing and speaking these words on their behalf and inserting their names within this passage has helped alleviate the grief of missing her and inspired me to remember that I too am chosen by God (see verse 4).
But two days ago, as I prayed that these words would become "bone deep", there was another verse that leapt off the page and began stewing in my heart and mind.
"For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything." (I Thessalonians 1:8)
Those five underlined words speak volumes...or should...about how I and my fellow Jesus followers are challenged to live. What if?
What if Paul, Silvanus (aka Silas), and Timothy were writing this letter today to the Hebronites, Burlingtonians, Florencians, and Unionites of Northern Kentuckionus? Could they sincerely write: 'For the word of the Lord has been lived out by you, not only in your hometowns, but also in your state, your nation and your world...every single place your beautiful feet have carried the Good News with you...so effectively that, you know what?...we don't need to say another word.'
Dream with me a minute and picture what that would be like:
- Care and involvement in the lives of the poor, the widow and the distressed
- Visiting the sick, the lonely and the imprisoned
- Anointing for healing of the sick and diseased
- Care and cultivation of God's beautiful creation and good stewardship of its limited resources
- Aiding the stranded traveller, the weary soul and the wounded heart
In other words, putting feet, hands, arms, faces and action onto the Gospel (aka Good News) that Jesus left behind for us to follow.
My brothers and sisters who call yourselves by the Name that is above every other name...followers of the Son of the One true living God...this is precisely the challenge before us. We have the very Holy Spirit of God living in us begging us to put flesh and feet to His Good News.
In the back of my mind I've always had this lingering thought, 'What if when I see Jesus, He shows me all of the opportunities I missed, the talents I squandered and the people with whom I didn't share His amazing Love? At the end of my days, I used to think I could hear nothing better than "Well done, good and faithful servant!" I'm not so sure now.
I think the best response I could hope for is "Child...I have no need to say anything."