Matthew 5.13-16

A good friend asked about a word choice in the last post. The word in question? Lucky. Here's the story behind my selection.

When Eugene Peterson was writing The Message years ago, he preached through what he wrote. As he was preaching through Matthew, there was one lady who would leave each Sunday's service by shaking his hand and saying I can't believe how lucky I am; I'm just so lucky. She had only recently become a part of the church; she'd lived for years apart from grace. But she would sit and listen to him paraphrase scripture and drink it in like a panting deer. Her totally secular, rode-hard-put-up-wet, no-church-background-at-all, amazingly refreshing response to God's grace was I can't believe how lucky I am.

Peterson lobbied hard to use that word, but his editor said "no way" - too close to "luck"/"gambling"/"chance" - he even said the etymology of the word traced back to "lucifer" in some way (I'm still not sure about that). The editor felt evangelicals, in particular, would go nuts over a word choice like that. So, it didn't make it in the published work. But as Eugene Peterson told that story, he cast a wishful glance and said I sure wish I would've fought harder to use the word lucky.

So now you know.

Here's the next few verses:
The Point Of Living Here At All

“You’re here to spice things up. You’re God’s salt. Your life can help others taste glory here on earth, right now. But there’s a difference between being salty and being godly. Be careful there. Ungodly salt ruins everything.

“You’re also here to shed light on the subject, the subject of living. Without you, the world’s completely in the dark. There’s no secret society or code word. It’s you - God wants you to brighten the days. So don’t play it small or humble-bumble; that doesn’t help anyone at all. Live big, dramatic lives, full of the Father’s goodness. Live so people can see.


  1. I love "humble-bumble," but don't go all cheap on me and turn it into tomorrow's post. Your good friend.

  2. My favorite title for the Beatitudes is "how lucky are the unlucky!" And my favorite translation of "makarios" ("blessed") in Matthew 5 is Karl Barth's: "O, you lucky bums!"

    Love your blog. I feel like a lucky bum getting to read it ...