Ezra’s 3 words.

Ezra the scribe sat at the low wooden desk and pulled the scrap of papyrus toward him. It was going to be a long day in Babylonia. Few people knew how to read or write.  It fell to him to write letters, to copy orders, to read the records, both for Persians and Jews. He had to make time for his own writing and reflecting.

Every year, he stopped for a moment to choose three words to direct his life. This was the morning. He dipped his reed pen into the ink pot. In Aramaic, he carefully wrote three words.

Study. Obey. Teach.

He leaned back They were the same words he wrote every year. Decades before he wrote these words for the first time, as a commitment from his heart. He would study God’s word, the teachings Moses had given. And then he would obey what he learned. He would orient his life toward those commands. And, once he understood them inside and out, he would teach the words. Not as an intellectual exercise, but as a way of life.

This year looked to be interesting. Something was changing in Artaxerxes’ political strategy. There were rumors that someone may be able to finish rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.  Ezra was intrigued.

But he wasn’t distracted be the possibilities. This year, as always, he wasn’t looking for status or position. He was devoted to three things.

Study. Obey. Teach.

He smiled and stood up. It was time to get started. As he did every morning, Ezra repeated the words that guided his three words:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

One thought on “Ezra’s 3 words.

  1. I do so want to love God with all my heart, soul and might. But , almost like a cloud blocking the sun light, are the myriad of thoughts, responsibilities, people and even myself that vies for my heart, mind and affections.
    I wonder if , every time I am aware of a cause of divided affection, I were to give that to Him , would that slowly and effectively dissipate the cloud ? I shall make a determined effort to do this starting first thing tomorrow morning. I am quite excited to see what the results will be.
    Possibly this is how I wish to grow spiritually this year. (I was finding it hard to verbalize concisely just how I want to grow as there are so many areas I desire growth.)

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