The Bible Isn’t Safe But It’s Good
...the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare...
In a classic scene from C. S. Lewis’s book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Susan and Lucy are talking with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan. Learning that he’s a lion, Susan and Lucy wonder if Aslan is safe. Mr. Beaver answers, “ ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
The same could be said about the Bible. If we truly open our hearts and minds to God’s inspired, written Word, we discover anything but safety. As it says in Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is “sharper than any double-edged sword” as “it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit.” That certainly doesn’t sound safe, does it?
A couple of months ago, I once again experienced the unsafe but utterly good character of Scripture. My morning devotions focused on 1 Corinthians 3, a passage that speaks of God’s servants as farmers who plant and water, and I felt God leading me to farm in another field, so to speak. My time at the H. E. Butt Family Foundation has come to an end.
As you may recall, I am writing a commentary on Ephesians—hence so many reflections on this astounding letter—and it is due next summer. I need to step back from other duties and focus my full attention on writing this commentary. I’m grateful for the generous support of the H. E. Butt Family Foundation that will allow me to do this.
Today, I want to introduce you to the Rev. Dr. Dave Peterson, pastor emeritus of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas. He’s a dear friend and a wise interpreter of Scripture. In fact, Dave was at the top of my list of possible writers, and I’m eager to start receiving Dave’s reflections in my inbox each morning. His Daily Reflections will begin in the new year, after the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Let me add that the editorial leadership of The High Calling is not changing. Marcus Goodyear will continue to oversee The High Calling content, including the Daily Reflections, with wisdom and passion, just as he has done for so many years. Deidra Riggs will continue to be the managing editor, working with Marcus to ensure top quality writing on themes that touch our daily lives and work.
As I move on, I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 3. In this passage. Paul compares his ministry and that of another Christian leader, Apollos. He writes, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow” (1 Cor. 3:5-9). If Paul were writing today’s reflection, I wonder if he’d say something like this: What, after all, is Mark? And what is Dave? Only servants.
For the privilege of serving in God’s field with you, I will always be grateful. And now, I am grateful to God for calling Dave to continue the work. What matters most, my friends, is not the person who serves, but God, who helps us all to grow and flourish through his Word and by his grace.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced the Word of God as something good, but not safe? Has God ever called you to change jobs, professions, or vocational focus? How is God helping you grow and flourish in your life right now?
PRAYER: Gracious God, for the extraordinary privilege and blessing of having written the Daily Reflections I give you thanks and praise.
Thank you, dear Lord, for those at The High Calling who have helped me in this work. For the wise leadership of Marcus and Deidra, I thank you. For Vickie, Christy, Tara, and Katie, who faithfully posted the reflections, I thank you. For those who proofed over 1,400 reflections with precise accuracy, including Dayna, Jennifer, and B. K., I thank you. For Dan, who first invited me to “write a few reflections,” I thank you.
Now, Lord, I thank you for Dave, a dear friend, wise pastor, stirring writer, and a man of deep, genuine faith. Guide and empower him, Lord, as he writes these reflections.
Thank you, Lord, for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation, for the wonderful work it does in the Frio Canyon and through the Daily Reflections. Continue, Lord, to bless this unique organization as it seeks to help people encounter you so that they might be transformed by your grace and become agents of transformation in the world.
To you, O Lord, be all the praise and all the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Advent in Us
“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace” (1 Cor. 15:10).
The grace of God through Christ Jesus is not a passive presence in our lives. The grace of God is at work in us, building us up and moving us to action and growth, to good work and worship. Everything we accomplish and all we become is because of the grace of Christ. In this, the first week of Advent, let’s remember Advent in Us, the gift of grace through our Lord Jesus. Let’s consider ways to discover anew the work of grace in our work, our lives, and our relationship with God.