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Living Letters


You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
2 Corinthians 3:1-4

Towards the end of his book, "Max on Life," author Max Lucado encourages his readers to remember that the apostles were writers, and that we need to pick up the pens that Paul, John, and Luke have set down. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and writing is a wonderful, and often overlooked avenue for a wider ministry for Christ. Well-written words can change lives, and travel to places far beyond our own travels. Plus, when someone buys a book, they are inviting the author to join them in an intensely private moment. They clear the calendar, turn off the television, find an easy chair or a corner, and invite the author to talk to them one on one. That is an invitation not to be turned down. In this challenge to pick up the mantle of gospel writing, Max Lucado said something rather striking to future writers! He said, "Let your life be your first draft. Shouldn’t Christian writers be Christian writers? Love grumpy neighbors. Feed hungry people. Help a struggling church. Pay your bills, your dues, and attention to your wife. You’ll never write better than you live." Lucado is reminding aspiring writers that anything they write must be prefaced by a life well-lived. The author's life is indeed the first draft of anything he or she writes.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul would remind each of us that we are living letters intended to commend and communicate Christ (2 Cor. 3:1-4). God has authored a work of grace in each of our hearts and homes that others should be able to read in big bold letters. Some imposters at Corinth had called Paul’s apostolic credentials and character into question causing Paul to fire back. Drawing upon the common practice of letters of recommendation in that day, Paul argues that his own letter of recommendation was the Corinthians themselves. The transformed lives of the Corinthians was a letter commending Paul and his ministry, a letter not written on paper but hearts, a letter not written in ink but one authored by the work of the Spirit through the apostle. Surely these living letters were evidence enough to shut the mouth of Paul’s critics?

What a compelling and convicting image of the Christian, a living letter written by God's own saving hand that people can read each and every day. Hopefully your life and mine are legible testimonies to God's amazing grace and transforming power. The implication of this image is that there is the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and then there is the gospel according to you, the gospel that you write each and every day by the words that you say and the deeds that you do! D. L. Moody, the evangelist, once said, "That for some people we are the only gospel they will ever read, and some of us need revising." Don't forget to be God’s postcard to the world today!