A Hermeneutic for All of Life

An article from Sam Storms on seeing Jesus in all of Scripture has me thinking about how we view all of life. How we interpret the events around us and on the global stage. What is our hermeneutic?


her·me·neu·tic
/hərmən(y)oodik/ adjective

1.concerning interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.

http://www.dictionary.com

A hermeneutic is our method and theory of interpretation. And while Storms was reviewing Scripture to encourage interpreting the Bible as pointing to Christ, there is actually more we can see as pointing to Jesus – all of life.

Here is the text in question (one of them anyway): Colossians 1:15–17

Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (ESV)

Storms them writes that by saying “for him” Paul is indicating that “Jesus Christ is the purpose of everything exists.”

Now I am familiar with this text and I have always thought of all things being for Jesus concerning his glory, that he would reign over them. But it goes further.

Think about that. Sure there are some sticky implications to that statement, but none prevents it from being true. Just like every Scripture in the Bible, everything of creation is meant to point to Jesus.

It may be to reveal the need for a savior. To show the beauty of his creative power. To proclaim his arrival, life, death, and resurrection. To highlight the miracle of belief and what a life transformed by grace looks like. To call us back to him when we run off to lesser gods.

Jesus as a banner over all things to make himself known. That people would believe.

Every encounter, every run-in, every mellow moment, every anxious interview, and everything in between. It is all for Jesus – about him, pointing to him, for his glory.

What a radical way to view all of life. And I think it is right. I want to spend more time interpreting life in light of Jesus. Will you join me?

When I Run Low on Grace

Stacy and I settled in for a relaxing evening and turned on the newest restaurant makeover show. The star chef was determined to revitalize a slumping eatery in just 24 hours. (As a side-bar, I am thinking of doing the same kind of show for churches – 24 hour replants… who is in?!)

As the background rolled you immediately witnessed the dysfunction of the staff and vision of the restaurant and while there were many culpable parties I personally focused on the kitchen manager. I didn’t like the way he belittled and gossiped about the owner and he was clearly responsible for the failure of food quality and safety. Having pegged him as the problem I said out loud a couple of times, “He needs to go… fire that guy!”

Then the renovation and new birth began in earnest and there is a scene where the celebrity chef brings the negligent kitchen manager to a test kitchen to train him in the new menu. As he learns the skills needed to make these new delicious entrees, he tells his story of an absent father and a lack of passion for life and work. The f-bomb-dropping chef hears the pain, makes sure the manager knows he hears him and relates to him in shared story and dreams. He won’t give up on this guy and he hopes the manager won’t give up on him. He extends real grace in the face of failure and plants the seeds of transformation.

Watching it unfold I exclaimed that I couldn’t believe Gordon Ramsey was more gracious than me to which Stacy responded, “way to go pastor!”

Boom.

Oh man, there are some many more examples I could use to make clear my often lack of grace toward others. Here I am the “grace junky” incapable of extending the grace I say I need so much. It is convicting. But it is not the end.

You see, when I run low on grace Jesus sends wave upon wave of more grace. When I don’t mirror the gift I am given in Jesus he gives in fresh, abundant ways. When I fail Christ holds me and tells me that his grace is sufficient, so much so that now I can learn and attempt to give grace to others. And this is true for you too.

Today, know that the grace of Christ is unending toward you. With it, Jesus calls you to real life, a gracious life. May we learn to extend this same grace that we would look and smell like Jesus!

Glimpses of Rest

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30 (CSB)

This week I had a change in schedule that took the biggest item of work off the task list. The thing that each week looms as the necessity to be accomplished and product to produce. It is my routine deadline and as the week progresses, if the task is not done I increasingly wrestle with anxiety and stress toward the goal of accomplishing it.

This week, however, someone else has taken on the weight of what usually drives my schedule and because of it I can’t help but think of rest.

I have had more freedom, without the deadline and the pressure, to look into other things and catch up on items that usually don’t get much attention. And if nothing was accomplished there was no burden, no weight to lift because the major task had been taken care of.

This has been for me a small glimpse into the rest we have in Christ. Here we have his key invitation, and it still stands for everyone everywhere. Weary and burdened, in need of rest, come. The work has been done, sin has been atoned for and there are no more spiritual or cosmic deadlines to pressure you. Relief. Security. Salvation.

Oh what joy we are given, what a gift it is to rest in Jesus. To know that his way is easy. Because of his humility we can find rest for our souls. More of this, please!

What are the things that are your glimpses of rest? The embrace of a comfortable bed? The licks of a pup? The refreshing cold water when you are parched? Laughter with friends around a fire? Enjoy it. And let it remind you of the rest you have in Christ. Let it give you a taste for what is still to come in him. Rest.

Jesus as a friend

Our family is on the tail end of a long vacation visiting national parks and spending quality time with family we don’t see all that often. And as is becoming tradition, making our way back west we stop to see some of our greatest friends.

Forged in the throws of ministry in Washington State and surviving through long distance moves, these are gospel friendships worth more than gold. It is a refreshing time to connect and keep up with each other.

What we do though is pull our 27 foot RV into their driveway and invade for a couple of days. We plug into their electricity. We eat their foot and drink their wine. We make ourselves at home. And when they visit San Diego next year they will do the same sans the RV.

There is no pretense, no performance, no perfection required. It’s just us and the acceptance of those fluent in the gospel.

We all need these types of friends. Not merely because having friends is good and healthy but because they are imaging Christ and we need the reminder of his care, his welcome to us.

Jesus let’s you pull your stuff into the driveway and plug in. He is the source, the provision and he doesn’t review your manifest before granting entry. He embraces you like the oldest and deepest of friend glad to see you. Like the one that holds on just a while longer because it has been so long.

This is your acceptance in Christ. Believing in him, he doesn’t just look away from your junk, he owns it for himself and frees you of every burden, every ounce of shame. And he invites you to stay, held by him for eternity. No threat of loss or status. Secure forever in him.

Live in that truth of his embrace today would you? And then find some friends you can do the same thing for. Remind each other of the gospel and sing of Christ’s grace.