I’m not preaching today, but if I was, here’s something I might want to share.
I have recently moved to Springfield, MO, the Queen City of the Ozarks. Because of this radical shift in my life, I reveled in the privilege of packing and unpacking boxes. Working as Sisyphus in Hades, I fruitlessly unpacked one box, placing all its items into their approximate locale, and thinking I was finished, discovered yet another box to relieve of its contents. Like Kirk and the Tribbles, or Billy Peltzer and the Gremlins, they kept multiplying.
When you move, you tend to lose things. The truth is nothing is ever lost; it’s right where someone or something put it. Physics teaches us that matter or energy is neither created nor destroyed. Everything’s still here. So that other sock didn’t disappear. It’s somewhere, just not here. It’s more appropriate to think of things as undiscovered, waiting to be brought into the marvelous light. I think it’s the same with God. We’re not lost, and neither is He. We simply remain undiscovered, or rather; He is waiting for us to discover Him.
Look at what Paul says in Romans 10.5-21. Paul wants his readers to know that living by law (self-righteousness) is inferior to living by faith (God-righteousness). But as he makes this argument, he drops a tiny hint to our undiscovery when he quotes Deuteronomy 30.14, “The word is near you, in your heart and in your mouth.” Paul is fighting against the racial, religious, and class distinctions of his day by demonstrating that salvation comes not from race or self-righteous and slavish obedience, but from the discovery of a singular truth. That truth? “Jesus is Lord..and God has raised Him from the dead.” (10.9)
Because salvation is rooted in this authentic confession rather than heritage or performance, the distinctions that defined Paul’s world no longer held power. Jew or Greek? It doesn’t matter, Paul writes, because “same Lord is Lord of all,” and “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord (understood as Jesus) will be saved.” (10.12-13) Will be. No qualifiers, no prerequisites, only guarantees. Anyone who wants in, gets in.
But someone has to tell them. And if they need to hear, someone has to go. (10.14-15) Go to people that religion or culture or economics or education or racism or sexism or bigotry or prejudice won’t let hear. That’s the reason for missionaries, for radicals, for church planters, for The Community Church.We are saved (liberated from the impossibility of self-salvation) because we confess to a revealed truth about Jesus Christ, and people must be given the option to trust that truth.
But the dirty secret? We all know. We all know there’s more to the universe; that we’re lacking in something. The dirtier secret? People that admit there’s more to know are closer to God than people who have all the answers. Listen to Paul echo Isaiah, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” (10.20) We are all discovered by God; and for many, He’s just around the corner.
I’m not preaching today, but if I was, it might have been like that.