Perhaps, with our noses pushed so hard upon the grindstone, we might lose sight of the gifts God gives us. For one thing, he has made us a Wordworker—one among the “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, to equip God’s people for works of service.” Sit back for a moment and think on this gift.
Jesus schooled his disciples in the secrets of the kingdom by means of parables, those civics lessons coded as seeds and weeds, hidden treasure and a priceless pearl, and a net filled with good fish and bad.
“Have you understood all these things? Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
He to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Matt. 13:51-52).
Therein is one of God’s great gifts to us Wordworkers.
This storeroom—the treasury—is our born-again heart, “its wealth and cherished values . . . understanding, personality, and very being,” says D. A. Carson. What we teach does not merely come from our study. We are more than prospectors digging into the golden vein of Scripture. Through new birth our hearts become treasuries because “the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom have been given to you” (Matt. 13:11). These aren’t some cabalistic, impenetrable mysteries, but are encapsulated in the gospel proclamation, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Now when we study the Bible, tutored by the Holy Spirit, embedded by obedience, the black and white pages are spun to gold and hidden in our hearts.
That is true for all believers because we are all called to teach and admonish one another out of the message of Christ (Col. 3:16). But Jesus’ promise here heightens our understanding of the gift he has given pastors and teachers who bring his words out of the treasuries of our hearts to our brothers and sisters. A fledgling pastor’s first faltering sermon is gold for those who hear, if it comes from the treasury. Yet the more we know of Scripture, the more we study it and polish our discoveries with prayer, the richer our listeners become.
John said that the Jews who heard Jesus teach “were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having been taught?’” Later the temple guards sent to arrest Jesus returned empty-handed, their only excuse, “No one ever spoke the way this man does” (John 7:14, 46). Remember what the two disciples whom Jesus met on the road to Emmaus said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” That is the company we keep. That is what Christ’s Spirit can accomplish through us when we bring out treasures new and old.
Scripture, God-breathed, spoken through God’s Spirit-filled Wordworkers, gives such life to dry bones that they not only rise and walk, but become meek and merciful. They are made hungry for righteousness and then fed, made poor in spirit and pure in heart, saints who possess the kingdom of heaven and whose eyes see God.
Scripture—these treasures new and old—sculpts our souls and our churches till we take on a striking resemblance to the Lord Jesus Christ. So we say with John Wesley, “O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God!”
Enjoy your gift!
Be ye glad!
Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He writes a weekly devotional for preachers on Preaching Today.