A Word to the Wise

 

Theme: Worship and right living. Proper 15 (19) 12th Sunday after Pentecost
Object: A bundle of personal letters tied together with a ribbon
Scripture: Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)

How long has it been since you wrote a letter? I mean a real, honest-to-goodness, hand-written letter. We don't write letters much anymore, do we? Letters have pretty much been replaced by phone calls, emails, text messages, and tweets. But there was a time when letters were our main way of staying in touch with friends and family. I still remember when I left home and went away to college. Every day I went to the mail box hoping to get a letter from home. These letters were always full of news about the family and also contained a lot of good advice from mom and dad. They would often suggest things like:

Don't stay out too late
Get plenty of rest
Keep your room clean
Study hard
Remember what we taught you

Today's Bible lesson is a letter from the apostle Paul to his friends in the church at Ephesus. Paul was a missionary and he traveled all around starting new churches. After starting a church, he stayed in touch with them through writing letters. Thirteen books of the New Testament are letters written by Paul to churches or people that he met while on his missionary journeys. That is almost half of the New Testament! Paul wanted to make sure that they were doing the things that God wanted them to do and were following the teaching of Jesus.

One of the great things about Paul's letters is that, not only did he give good advice to the people he was writing to, but his advice is just as useful for us today. Here are a few of the things Paul told the church at Ephesus that we would do well to follow.

Be careful how you live
Don't be unwise but wise
Make the most of every opportunity
Don't get drunk on wine
Be filled with the Holy Spirit
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord
Give thanks to God for everything

Writing letters may never be as popular as it once was, but thankfully, we still have the letters of Paul. They are full of great advice.

Father, we are thankful that your Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write such great letters. Help us to read and follow his advice so that we may live a life pleasing to you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen