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.
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.
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.
- Can you start naming one—or three—of the big epiphanies in your life from this journey through Colossians?
- 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.
- How have you shared the Daily Text with others in the past?
For the Awakening,