By Mark D. Roberts –
When I was a boy, I yearned to find buried treasure. I knew from familiar tales of pirates that gold coins and rare jewels were buried all over the place. But I also knew that in order to find them I needed a treasure map, preferably one with a big ‘X’ that marked the spot where the treasure lay. This was a problem, however, because I lacked such a map. Sometimes my friends and I would make up treasure hunts, complete with roughly drawn maps. But our treasure was usually candy, not precious metals and stones. In time, I gave up my desire to seek buried treasure and became satisfied with more common pursuits. (I did, however, relive my childhood adventures as a pirate for our church’s VBS. The photo offers proof.)
In the last five years, I felt as if I were once again on a treasure hunt. This one paid off handsomely, I might add. No, I’m not rich with gold, diamonds, and rubies. But I have been enriched with such things as “the incomparable riches of [God’s] grace” (Ephesians 2:7). These riches came as the result of a serious hunt, guided by an amazing map.
The hunt of which I speak was a five-year project of writing a commentary as part of Zondervan’s Story of God series. My map was the Letter to the Ephesians. I had the privilege of spending hundreds and hundreds of hours studying this “map” so that I might find the “treasure” to which it points. What I found was indeed precious, more than I had ever imagined.
Yet, unlike the typical fictional pirate, I am not trying to hoard this treasure for myself. Rather, I’m glad to share it with others. My commentary on Ephesians can help people use this map to find the treasure God has placed there. It was published in late November. Moreover, I love to preach and teach on Ephesians, helping others to discover the “mystery of [God’s] will” and the “boundless riches of Christ” (1:9; 3:8).
Thus, I’m both honored and excited to be the Bible teacher for The Fellowship Community’s 2017 National Gathering in February. Yes, I’ll be sharing some of the treasures of Ephesians. I can think of no better way to explore with you the conference theme, “Deep and Wide: Making Missional Disciples.” In fact, one could argue that Ephesians, more than any other book of the Bible, reveals in a stunning way the depth and width of God’s love, the riches of his grace, and the compelling mission of his people.
So, I invite you to join me on a delightful hunt, as we discover together the treasure God has for us in Ephesians, treasure that will transform our lives, our leadership, our churches, and our world.