Part of the readings that we have within the season of Lent, and now in the season of Easter are readings from the Exodus. Today’s reading has one of my favorite little nuggets in all the Bible within it. Listen to what we are told today in Exodus 12: 33-36:
33 The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing, 36 and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians.
The phrase that I really like there is that they “plundered the Egyptians.” I’ve heard it phrased like this before, they “plundered the Egyptians’ gold.” Isn’t that stealing? Why do I like that phrase so much?
Let me tell you why.
As the Israelites left, the Egyptians gave to the people their gold, and the Israelites would later use that gold for many of the things that would be used in worship. The Israelites took from what they were surrounded by, and used it for God’s glory.
That’s what Charles Wesley did. If you look at the early Methodist hymns, there would be no music, just words. Why was that? Wesley would write the lyrics to the hymn, and then they would be sung to whatever was the common, popular tunes of the day. Anytime in the hymnal you see “folk tune” or something like that, that’s part of what was happening.
They would take from the culture that which was good, and use it to proclaim the goodness and grace of God. Now, they wouldn’t take everything, we are called to be different. But they would take whatever is good and useful and use to spread the Gospel.
Today, we can do the same thing. We don’t have to talk only about church. We can talk about sports. Or our favorite movie. Or music. Or gadget. We have lots of things that we enjoy, that are fun for us. We can start conversations with things like that.
And here’s the thing. When our faith is real to us, it will work its way into our conversations. We don’t have to force it into our conversations. I like movies. I like music. I like baseball. (BTW – go Giants!) I love Jesus. I will talk to you about any of these (and many other) things.
So today, don’t say what we “think” a Christian should say, just be real. Just be you. Talk to your friends about what you like. But never be afraid to let your conversation go towards Jesus. He is the reason we do it all. He is our source, our life, our hope, everything.
Today, in all we do, all we say, all we are; may He be glorified.