Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sharing the treasure

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

Fathers make known to children your faithfulness. - Isaiah 38:19

Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old. - Matthew 13:52

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 144:1-4; 2 Kings 14; Acts 4:13-22

There are different explanations of Matthew 13:52. My favorite is that becoming a "scribe," a teacher or interpreter of God's word, is an aim for all followers of Jesus; and that in "bringing out of our treasure what is old and what is new," our work is to connect the scriptural stories of God's action in the past with what we see of God's action in our current context. What did we learn? How was God revealed to us? How have God's people experienced salvation and inspiration? What does it all mean for us today? This is a lot like parents passing on the faith to each succeeding generation - but more as well. We can be teachers and interpreters for anybody who might need to know what God's word means for their life.

In Acts 4, Peter and John are working to make God's history real for more people. They're living out Jesus' call to spread the word in ever-widening circles: "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The crowds and the authorities recognize that Peter and John are "uneducated and ordinary men," yet because of what God is doing through them, they have enough influence that the only threat the authorities can come up with is to tell them to be quiet! Of course, they can't; they say instead, "we cannot keep from speaking."

I believe it still works this way! At Zion Lutheran Church, where I serve, we recently took orders for copies of the Daily Texts. These little daily guides to scripture are also available on the web each day at:
     http://www.mountcarmelministries.com/daily-texts-devotionals/
Or you can sign up to receive them by email at:
     http://www.moravian.org/faith-a-congregations/moravian-daily-texts/subscribe-to-the-daily-texts/
I think it's great for every Christian to work on a regular habit of reading some scripture, praying about it, and reflecting on what you read and what you hear from God in prayer. It's even better to talk about it with a few friends, or create your own journal or blog. This is a simple, easy way to start becoming a "scribe," learning to recognize and interpret God's word and share it with others.

We'll find that the circle of God's story and Spirit keeps widening, and every Christian has the chance to be a part of it. Just by living and walking with God, we accumulate a treasure of our own experiences with God and the proclamations of other people. We also come across people who need what we've been given. To "bring out of our treasure what is old and what is new" is to watch and listen, be a friend and partner to people in need, and to give deeply and generously from God's abundance. How has God enriched each of us? Who is God putting in our lives who needs that story and inspiration? What can we do to make God's love real for them, through what we do and what we say? May we be learners and teachers, "scribes" who receive and share God's great treasure for the needs of the world!

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