S (Scripture): 2 Corinthians 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? We don’t need letters of recommendation to you or from you as some other people do, do we? 3:2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone, 3:3 revealing that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts.
O (Observation): Paul makes a distinction between a reputation on paper versus a living testimony. Paul suggests that he and his followers do not need any kind of written testimony of their Gospel message, because they have one another, and The Gospel written on every one of their hearts.
Paul compares members of the body of Christ to letters written by fellow members of the body of Christ written by way of the Spirit, delivered by one another to one another.
A (Application): Great metaphor. The impression each believer leaves on each other gets written into their very DNA. As a letter-writer leaves a bit of themselves in the letter, so too, do we leave a bit of ourselves with one another after we spend time together.
As a church, we must be careful what we measure, because we ultimately value what we measure. If we only measure butts and bucks (attendance and offering) we only value those things. That’s not necessarily the Gospel.
What if we measured the number of households that hold daily devotions or spend time in Scripture every day?
What if we asked how many people are you mentoring in the faith (or conversely, do you have a spiritual mentor)? (Or, are you being mentored AND mentoring others?)
What if we asked people about where their strengths lie: between spending time with God, disciples, or the community? What is their weakest area? Why?
These are questions that get to the “heart” of Paul’s words. Knowing butts and bucks doesn’t always get us there. The fact that we are living letters means that we will bear fruit, fruit that will last. That means we will struggle with our faith journey, with reproducing a disciple-making culture, and with being a living letter for Christ.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to see our lives as gifts from you. Help us to know that we are living letters, informed by those who have come in the faith before us. Helps us to see that we will write the living letters of the future. Amen.