If you didn't hear, Eugene Peterson, Pastor/Christian Author, died this week. Words cannot express the impact Eugene had on me. Books like Eat this Book, Living the Resurrection, or even a small Bible study book Psalms: Prayers of the Heart have impacted me over the years... challenging me in simple but clear ways to read the Bible not for information, but as an act of prayer. Through Eugene's writings I learned to 1) read scripture, 2) meditate on the scripture and 3) pray the scripture. God's word came alive in new ways. Most of the way I journal in my Bible today is grounded in Eugene's philosophy.
As the curator behind the Message Bible Translation, God used Eugene to simplify scripture for people. As a former Christian Bookstore owner, I can tell you firsthand the passion people have for this translation. It's simplistic approach brings newfound depths to the scripture.
I was reading some scripture from the Message this week and ran across one of my favorite passages. In the Message it came alive in a new way. Check out Romans 12:1-2:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
What a challenge for God. Don't become comfortable with your culture. You're not going to fit in. Don't even try! Instead, focus on God. I love it!
Let's take it a step further and apply it to our Online world. Are we so comfortable in social media environments that we no longer represent God... that we no longer present the Gospel to those in desperate need of His Grace? In the midst of the noise, have we forgotten what it means to give our attention to God? What if we gave him our attention Online? What could God do with our ordinary life online?
Suddenly, Online is looking more like a digital mission field.
Thank you, Eugene, for your humility when being used by God.
(Check out Bible.com to read more of from Romans 12 in the Message Translation.)