I have kept many birthday cards from my wife over the past thirty years. All of them have a personal note of love and affirmation and are valuable to me. In addition, I have maintained an encouragement box of notes and letters of thanks from students, staff, friends and colleagues. Friends and family contributed many expressions of congratulations and well wishes on the date we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. The cards we received were put in the box as well.
Words still matter to me. Kind words. Enriching words. Words that bring life…words that touch the mind, the heart, and the soul. I enjoy going to my encouragement box now and then to relive the memories of those who took a moment to express their concern and appreciation for me. It is a deeply satisfying and humbling experience to listen to what others have said.
I wonder how life would be if I did not have an encouragement file. I wonder how different I would be if after receiving all of those notes, I never opened them or read them. What if I packed them away and ignored them? Imagine a scene where I stumbled onto a box in the attic twenty-five years later and discovered a pile of notes, cards, and letters all addressed to me. I try and figure out why this box even exists, and how it came to be in my house.
Many of us can relate to unread email messages. Some of us remember finally getting our unclaimed mail after being gone on a trip. Some aspiring writers have a box of manuscripts started that never got to the publisher. You may still have a letter you wrote to a loved one, or someone you hurt and am trying to reconcile with…yet the letter was never sent. In each of these scenarios, life may have been different if the person had only read the message.
Read 2 Peter 1:1-15.
The Bible is in essence a love letter from God to the human race. Sixty-six books arranged into an older and newer Testament that describe the Creator, the world He created, and the story of creation-fall-redemption-and consummation. The Old Testament has thirty-nine books, while the New Testament has twenty-seven. Twenty-one of the twenty-seven though, are letters written to encourage and instruct Christians. They were penned from individual authors to specific people, individuals, or groups of Christians in the first century. They were written for a purpose, yet their meaning has benefited millions throughout history. All of us understand the need to forgive and be forgiven, the challenge of living life well, and the reality of good and evil.
Today, you and I can read and receive the letters of the New Testament as personal messages from the Savior of the world sent from those who knew Him when He walked on earth in the first century. The apostle Peter wrote, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). Letters written back then can still be a message from Christ to us.
Picture yourself putting a Post-It note on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or TV saying, “you have mail…check your Bible.” What if you opened your copy of the Scriptures every day to read a very personal message from the Lord? We do not have to wake up late in life to realize that our lives could have been different if we had only read the letters He sent us.
Grow devotionally. God’s letters in the New Testament help us to know Him better.
Love is a verb,