The evening glow was quickly fading on the western horizon when I arrived home with my oldest daughter Anna, who was 4 years old at the time. Kelley was still at work. Walking down the alley, I noticed that the back door to our apartment was still open.
I can’t believe it! I thought to myself. Why did Kelley leave the back door open?
I walked inside through the kitchen carrying Anna in my arms. Turning on the light, it looked like Kelley had been looking for something before she left. The door to the chest that held our fine china was open and some of the dishes had been set on the couch. The closet door was open and some of the boxes from the top shelf were sitting on the floor. A few boxes had been thrown across the room.
Boy, Kelley must have been in a hurry because she left this place in a mess! Wives make such easy targets.
Holding Anna, I walked up the stairs to put her to bed. When I turned on the hall light, I looked into my bedroom. The place was ransacked.
We had been robbed!
I ran down the stairs and over to the building manager’s apartment to get help. The manager’s wife called the police and watched Anna while the two of us walked through the apartment to ensure no one was hiding inside.
After assessing the loss, we determined that about US$5,000 in possessions had been stolen. In today’s dollars, it was the equivalent of about US$7,300.
The burglar had stolen from our jewelry, perfume, a camera, leather jacket, and other odds and ends. Interestingly enough, he left my laptop computer, probably because it was pretty old. Amazingly enough, he also left my most valuable possessions.
What is your most valuable possession and how do you prevent it from being stolen?
Please join us as we explore this topic in our daily Bible conversation.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
1 Peter 1:1-12. One issue scholars raise with the epistle of 1 Peter is that it is written in exquisite Greek when we know Peter wasn’t highly educated. But in 1 Peter 5:12 we read that Silas (Paul’s part-time sidekick) who was likely more educated, helped him write the letter. In 2 Peter, Silas isn’t mentioned, and the Greek isn’t near as advanced.
Peter wrote 1 Peter from Rome (called “Babylon” in 5:13) in the mid-60s AD in order to encourage the believers who were beginning to experience increasing persecution at the hands of the Roman emperor Nero. The book of Hebrews was written about the same time. While Hebrews was written primarily to Jewish believers, 1 Peter was written to Gentile believers. Peter would have been thirty years removed from Jesus’ crucifixion.
While the word “Trinity” is mentioned nowhere in the Bible, Peter begins his epistle with a Trinitarian greeting: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect…who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood” (1 Peter 1:1–2 italics added). Furthermore, Peter acknowledges the three persons of the Trinity in verses 3-12.
Psalm 119:17-32. “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” (Psalm 119:24). Where do you go when you need wisdom, insight, or counsel? I love the perspective in this verse: the word of God is our counselor. In John 14, Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the Counselor. When we hide the word of God in our heart, the big “C” Counselor (Holy Spirit) works through the little “c” counselor (word of God) to give us the direction we need. All that to say: the main way that God speaks to us is through his word.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Oddly enough, getting robbed actually worked in our favor. We had good renters’ insurance and the US$200 camera that was stolen had risen in value to over US$800.
Not bad for a family struggling to pay their bills while in graduate school.
But if someone broke into your home, what possession would you be most concerned about losing?
Of course, the “spiritual” answer is, “All of my possessions belong to God, so they mean nothing to me.” But let’s get real and discard our delusions and hypocrisy.
I own an incredible guitar I bought from a famous rock guitarist while living in Los Angeles. Somehow the burglar didn’t see it. But my greatest concern was my violin. Crafted by gypsies in Europe about 180 years ago, it’s my most valued possession. My violin bow is nearly as old and nearly as valuable.
This discussion begs the question: What is our most valued possession? And secondarily, how do we keep it secure?
Peter wrote his first epistle to a community of people who were beginning to experience persecution under the Roman emperor Nero. Their property and possessions were being taken away from them. Stolen. What could Peter say to offer them encouragement?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3–4)
All too often, we lose sight of the fact that when we give our lives to Jesus, we receive an inheritance that can never be stolen, burned, broken, or lost. Our inheritance, our greatest possession is heaven. Eternity with God.
Our lives last 80 years, eternity lasts forever. How easily we define our lives by our possessions or achievements. Or, we define ourselves by brief moments—a mistake, an abuse, a sin—when we will live forever.
Think about it: Where were you at 3:04 p.m. on June 4, 2002? You probably don’t remember, but imagine defining your entire life by that one minute. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet our lifetimes are so infinitely smaller in comparison to eternity which is kept in heaven for us.
That’s why Peter can say that we have a living hope. When we look at our lives from an eternal perspective, our problems, possessions, and pain don’t seem so important. Sure, they may be important in the moment, but in light of eternity, they mean little.
The good news is this: we have been given a living, eternal hope. Life forever. Eternity in heaven. No one can take that away from us. The more we allow that understanding to permeate our minds, hearts, lives, the better we will be able to handle our daily problems and predicaments.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- What is your most valued possession? What gives it value?
- To what extent do you live with an eternal perspective?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.