Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
This verse from Colossians is so full of nourishment that there is no way to put the whole thing in our mouths at one time. It’s going to take a few blog bites to chew on it.
Today, all I want to do is chew on the first word: “let.” Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Another way to say it is, don’t stop the word of Christ from filling you to satisfaction. Or stop stopping it.
Here’s the thing: we are frequently impoverished spiritually by our own not letting ourselves be rich. On our shelves or bed stands or in our tablets or computers is a bank vault of “true riches” (Luke 16:11). But the pawnshop trinkets of worldly words are deceptively attractive. We can even be on our way to spend our time (the currency of life) on the riches in the vault and end up spending it in the pawnshops along the way.
What Paul wants us to do is neglect things that make us poor and not neglect things that make us truly rich.
What to Neglect
If the word of the Wall Street Journal or World Magazine or Wired Magazine or David Brooks or David Letterman or David McCullough, or John Mayer or John Steinbeck or John Paul II or John Calvin or Richard Dawkins or Richard Branson or Richard Baxter or Bono or Bach or blogs (even this one) dwells in you more richly than the word of Christ, you’re poor. You might be impressive at a dinner party or around a conference table or at small group. But you’re poor. You’re storing up dust.
You don’t need to be in the know.
You don’t need to be admired among the literati or respected in the guild. You don’t need an impressive net worth. You don’t need to be well traveled or well read. You don’t need to be conversant in Portlandia or know how many Twitter followers Taylor Swift has. You don’t need to be politically articulate, or up on the mommy blogs or the young, restless and reformed buzz. You don’t need to see the movie. You don’t need to read the novel. You don’t need to look hip.
What Not to Neglect
But what you desperately need, more than anything else in the world, is the word of Christ dwelling in you richly.
No one speaks like Jesus Christ (John 7:46). He is the Word of God and the Word that is God (John 1:1) He is the Word of Life (1 John 1:1) and when he speaks, his word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and he shows you the path of life (Psalm 16:11) and his words give you hope and joy and peace (Romans 15:13).
Jesus is the one human being in all of history who speaks the very words of eternal life (John 6:68) and when you listen and believe his word, it becomes your life (Deuteronomy 32:47), your food (John 6:51), your drink (John 4:14) and your light (Psalm 119:105).
Only Jesus has the words of life. Only him. That’s why the Father pleads with us, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Mark 9:7).
Everyone else’s words are dust in the winds of time and to chase them is to chase the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14). The precious few helpful, enlightening, even mortal life-preserving words are only of superficial help to us and in the end will blow away.
The only exceptions are those that help us (and others) listen to the word of Christ.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Don’t neglect it. Listen to his word. Soak in his word. Memorize his word. Eat and chew it slowly. Don’t stop it from benefitting you.
Neglect the TV, blogs, social networks, video games, theaters, magazines, books, hobbies, chores, and pursuits that keep you from the Vault. Neglect the impoverishing pawnshop trinkets of words that will turn to dust in a day, a week, or a few years.
When it comes to life, time really is money. Time is how you spend your life. Don’t waste it. Spend your best time buying “true riches.”
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