Why Letters Matter

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Colossians 4:16

After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

CONSIDER THIS

Wait! Did he just reference an epistle to Laodicea? Is that in your Bible? It’s not in mine. Is it part of the Gospel of Thomas collection or some other apocryphal mystery?

This is the stuff of Da Vinci Codes and spy novels—the long-lost letter from Laodicea. Did it contain a secret map disclosing the location of the coveted Holy Grail? Might Ovaltine’s Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring help us interpret some encrypted message should the letter surface today? Nothing like a missing letter from the apostle Paul stirs up biblical intrigue and endless conspiracy theories.

Truth be told, most biblical scholars believe this missing letter to the Laodiceans is actually Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which he intended as a circular letter to make the rounds among all of his churches. He wanted the Colossians to make sure to get a copy of the letter to the Ephesians, which was making its way to them by way of the Laodiceans. How ’bout them apples! Letters matter . . . a lot.

All kidding aside, is this not exactly what we are doing with the Daily Text? We are circulating Scripture. It seems absurd to even say it, but without parallel or rival, the single most important element of the Daily Text, day in and day out, is the daily text itself—by which I mean the biblical text. The entire goal of the project is to circulate the Word of God and to cause people to engage it, interact around it, and do it. Sure, I add some color and contemporary reflection, but without the daily text of Scripture, I have nothing to say.

I wanted to be a writer when I was thirty. I wanted to be a writer like this when I was forty. But let’s be honest. At thirty and forty I wanted to be famous. At fifty-five I could care less. I want to be faithful. Faithful feels to me like trading on whatever it is God has given me for the advance of his purposes in the world. He has given me his Word and the training to explore its meaning. He has given me half a century of life experience. And he has given me you.

Far from a crowd of passive religious consumers, you are a community of sowers for awakening. You are already banding together in hundreds of counties across this nation alone. We are sowing for a great awakening! And what do we have to sow other than the holy Word of God, taking root in our lives through the power of the Spirit of God in the glorious way of the Son of God, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

This is why we want the Daily Text to spread. It’s for the awakening. You are already sowing, sharing it with friends and family. There are about thirty thousand of us that we know of. Let’s ask God to make us a hundred thousand by the end of the year. It’s why we are putting the Daily Text into books, so you can sow it into Sunday school classes and small groups and even sermon series for whole churches. 

After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicean. (v. 16)

See what I just did there? Now that you are through the letter, I want you to see that it is also read by your friends and family, your neighbors, your local church, the church down the street and in the next town over. 

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is the Word of God. Would you write his life like a letter on our hearts? Would you make his mind our minds? Root out all of the resistance in me. I want to follow Jesus. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Can you start naming one—or three—of the big epiphanies in your life from this journey through Colossians?
  2. Reflect on Paul’s strategy of letter writing and circulation and try to wrap your mind around just how successful the campaign has been and continues to be.
  3. How have you shared the Daily Text with others in the past?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, JD, for your “e-pistles” that are sowing the Word of God into many hearts! I am being very blessed, encouraged, and trained by your insights. I think I have commented on every daily “e-pistle” you wrote about Colossians. My epiphanies are in those comments, and they are many!

    The 1st century Christ-followers overcame the devil “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Jesus is living and working inside of every faithful Christ-follower, every single day. We all have testimonies about what He is doing in us, for us, and thru us. But do we share those devil-overcoming testimonies, or do we keep them quietly hidden under a bushel basket? One powerful way to share them is to write “e-pistles.” What an opportunity we 21st century Christians have to freely spread our daily testimonies around the world thru social media and blog posts.

    I encourage every Christ-follower to shout it from the housetops of the internet by writing their own “e-pistles” full of their own testimonies and the word of God. Their “e-pistles” can be a few words, a few sentences, a few paragraphs, or even a few e-books. Jesus has called us to be his missionaries to our culture, not our culture’s mission field. (We are to influence our culture by sharing our testimonies and epiphanies about the living Jesus, not to be influenced by the sins and media of our culture.)

    Paul wrote His epistles and look at the incredible way God has used them for 2,000 years! Paul had no idea that his letters would still be read and changing lives 2,000 years later! Write your testimonies. Friends in Christ, share your stories of how Christ has worked and is working in and thru you. If you need another model to help get you started, find me on Facebook or Twitter or search for Free Gas For Your Think Tank blog. The living Word burns in my heart and I am so grateful to have an opportunity to share it far and wide thru writing “e-pistles.”

    I so appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Daily Text. The daily questions are a great place to start your own “epistles.” Take the time to answer and post your answers to JD’s questions, right here and right now. As you begin to answer let the Holy Spirit stir your heart. Then pass it on to the other readers of the Daily Text. I need to hear your insights and testimonies. Blessings to all.

    I shared a link to the Daily Text on my blog post yesterday!

  2. J D, my biggest epiphany from this journey through the letter to the Colossians, has been the realization that there are many other believers out there who share a “holy discontent “ with the status quo of the current version of the institutional church. But this alone would not be all that helpful. I’m encouraged by some of the comments made here regarding how we are to move forward in our desire to experience renewal within the Church. Another epiphany is the realization that all of us are in place for such a time as this. I’m excited to know that God will use us in His mission to restore His church and expand His kingdom if only we fully surrender to His sovereign will.
    I have personally shared many insights that I’ve acquired through my engagement with the Daily Text with members of small group Bible studies that I facilitate, and have recommended it to several of my friends. As I’ve stated here before, thank you JD for your ministry of Daily Text. It’s the first thing I read each and every morning.

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