25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness - 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
I wanted to end our first week together with the passage that I shared with you in the opening message of the Summer of Joy series. Remember that Paul is speaking here about becoming a servant of the Gospel - the message about what Christ has done, what Christ is doing, and what Christ will do to renew all of creation and each person who receives him.
This is the hidden treasure, the “glorious riches” that we are all in some ways seeking in life.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Several years ago, I had the chance, with a small group of other pastors, to spend a few days with Rev. Maxie Dunnam, past President of Asbury Theological Seminary and Pastor Emeritus at Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Maxie has been a prolific writer throughout his ministry, publishing more than 40 books, but the most amazing thing about Maxie is his presence. He is one of those individuals whose joy and faith is evident in each personal encounter. I don’t know how else to describe it other than to say that when you talk with Maxie you somehow know you are talking with someone who knows the glorious riches of life and lives in the reality of Christ living in Him.
In his study, The Workbook on Abiding in Christ, he writes,
When we fully claim God’s grace, it transforms us. As unbelievable as it may appear on the surface, this proclamation is the heart of the Gospel: I am loved by God. My favorite way of stating it is this: There is a place in God’s heart that only I can fill.”
Part of what Maxie shared with us in our time together is his practice of waking up everyday, looking himself in the mirror and saying to himself, “Maxie, there is a place in God’s heart that only you can fill.” For him, these words are his daily reminder of who he really is and a focus for the kind of life he wants to lead each day as a disciple of Jesus.
Today I want to invite you to try out Maxie’s practice for yourself. Take a moment to look yourself in the mirror and remember who you really are. Use this as a chance for you again to claim the joy that is available in Christ. And, take a moment to express your own thanks and praise that, out of God’s great love for you, God has reserved that sacred space just for you.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.