As a boy, when I arrived home from school each day, two priorities dominated my agenda. The first was to secure a snack — often something, not so healthy — and the second was to spend an hour watching television before diving into my homework – also not very healthy. Ted Turner’s fledgling super-station curiously juxtaposed two cartoons starting at 3:35 – “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons.” One superimposed modern concerns, attitudes and lifestyles upon stone-aged men and women while the other superimposed futuristic technology and innovation upon contemporary concerns, attitudes and lifestyles. The curious message of both cartoons was the same. While the context of life changes radically, people are the same in every age. The hopes, their problems, their needs are the same whether they are riding dinosaurs in the rock quarry or zipping around in spaceships.
Certainly, those of us who have lived very long have seen this. People are people, even though the world today is radically different from the one in which we grew up. We did not have computers, cell phones, video players of any type, remote controls, or even color television. I was almost grown before I leaned that Gilligan’s shirt was not light grey. The pace of technological change is staggering, as amazing discoveries are being made every day which fundamentally change our lives. Scientific discovery is accelerating exponentially. But the most important discovery sits outside the realm of science.
Curiously, every great discovery has been there all along, hiding in the cosmos and waiting to be uncovered through some unfolding chain of inquiry. But the greatest truth, the one which affects the hearts and souls of men and women, is not discoverable. It must be revealed. This truth alone, expressed in the Christian gospel, has the power to change people from the inside out. This truth has been entrusted to the Church, whose mission is to proclaim it. While many great discoveries have improved the quality and quantity of human life, none of these have eternal impact.
But often the Church gets distracted and fails to keep the main thing the main thing. Programs must be staffed and funded, buildings must be maintained, schedules must be managed, traditions must be observed, controversies must be addressed. The church may pursue many good secondary things, but if not careful, it may lose sight of the first thing, the gospel. No doubt Paul recognized this danger as he instructs Timothy how the church is to be organized, who is to do what, how worship is to be conducted, and how the needs of the congregation are to be met. For this reason, he constantly reasserts the big picture in every discussion of details. The structure of worship, the establishment of leadership and its qualifications, the concern to contend for truth, and to care for the marginalized all serve the same end – to declare the great mystery of godliness, revealed in the gospel.
Join us this Lord’s Day, January 27, as we examine 1 Timothy 3:14-16 to consider the importance of focusing our ministry as the Church through the lens of the gospel. We meet on the square in Pottsville, right next to historic Potts’ Inn at 10:45 am for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. We look forward to seeing you.