new year has dawned; it’s time for setting goals and making resolutions. It is time for taking stock of our spiritual progress, our walk with Christ. Do we know Him, or do we simply know about Him? Are we moving forward with Him, or are we stuck in a performance trap? Are we walking with Him or are we simply taking a stroll? If we are not progressing in the Christian life, perhaps we need to make some changes. Matthew 13 records a series of parables in which Jesus described the kingdom of heaven. At the end of this series of parables, Jesus shifted His focus from the kingdom of heaven to the disciple of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 13:51-52 calls on Christians to make a fundamental change, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (NASU) Jesus pointed out that anyone who followed Him needed some basic knowledge and would be required to make a fundamental change in his life. In verses 51 and 52, Christ was summing up the teachings of the Kingdom of Heaven parables. That knowledge was indeed a treasure. Everyone who follows Jesus should have acquired this knowledge, this treasure. In other words, each Christian must be a scribe, one who studies the Law to discover truth, one who preserves and protects the truth. The Biblical scribe is a marvelous example of how a Christian should engage Biblical truth. A scribe will store up this kind of treasure in his mind and in his soul.
Jesus added that the scribe should become a “disciple of the kingdom.” That is a fundamental change. At this point in history, many of the scribes had lost their way. They were not dispensing life giving truth, but were rather passing on dead traditions of men which added burdens to the people. Disciples of the kingdom will not just “know truth,” they will “do truth.” Disciples of the kingdom will apply truth. They will apply it to their own lives which will in turn inject it and invest it in the lives of others. Christians are called to be disciples and disciple makers all at the same time. This treasure that has been entrusted to the scribe (Christian) must be put to work so that it will produce dividends in the lives of others. This is how one becomes a disciple like a head of a household providing for family members. Also, note that the new revelations given by Christ will not contradict the old revelations because they come from the same storehouse of treasure which is found in the Bible. The new revelations will complement not replace the old revelations.
A new calendar year has dawned. Our thoughts turn to improving ourselves, making changes for the better. Matthew 13:51-52 raises some questions. As a believer, have you done the good work of a scribe? Have you stored up a treasure of Biblical truth in your mind and in your soul? Biblical illiteracy is a rampant problem in the 21st century church. If you have not succumbed to the pull of so many competing distractions, and have done the work of a scribe by storing up a treasure of Biblical knowledge, you are among the minority. Have you moved on to the next step? Are you becoming a disciple, like a head of a household, applying truth to your life and thus dispensing this life-giving balm to those with whom you have influence?
STEVE ELLISON is director of Ouachita Baptist Camp in Arkansas. You may contact him at email@example.com.