Mature enough to walk away
2Timothy 2: Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights.
Timothy, a young pastor, is urged by his mentor, Paul, to pursue maturity, focusing on things like righteousness, faith, love, peace, and prayer. He’s told to avoid “inane discussions” because they lead only to fighting. Obviously, Paul’s not talking about having serious discussions in which people have genuine disagreements and are seeking to understand one another’s positions. Still, the principle here is a good one. Believers need to avoid bickering with one another. The longer it goes on the more the two sides get entrenched. Ultimately, there’s a fracture in their relationship in which one side or both gets hurt. Others, sometimes the most innocent people of all, are drawn in and wounded even more seriously by the immature attitudes shown by people who they love, respect, and need. So, how can this mess be avoided? It’s easy, really. “Refuse to get involved.” Some things are worth the trouble and are, in fact, rather important. Most things aren’t. Paul wants Timothy to focus on the good stuff and walk away from the bad stuff. I’ll like my church better if I do that. In fact, I’ll probably like myself better too.
Take Away: Give your energies to that that really matters, file the other stuff in the “not-that-big-a-deal” file.
Making the main thing the main thing
Romans 14: None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters.
There’s trouble down at the church. Some folks have decided that they have a corner on God’s truth. Other folks have done the same and their “truth” is different than that of the others. They’ve had duels with their Bibles and some of the discussion has brought more heat that light. There have been a few church parking lot conversations and not a few phone calls. Any day now things are coming to head and the result won’t be pretty. The outsiders don’t even understand the fight but they do see this as another example of the failure of Christianity. “They can’t even get along with one another, much less save the world.” The thing is that this isn’t Christian behavior. The Bible says that one Christian isn’t supposed to demand that other Christians do things their way. Paul’s main example is dietary concerns and he also tosses into the mix the concept of keeping a day as holy. The Apostle practices what he preaches here. If I think something is important I’m to pursue it in my life, doing it as unto the Lord. Meanwhile, I’m to leave you alone about it. We have bigger fish to fry (or maybe tofu in this case). The Lord invited us to follow him and to join him in extending the hope of salvation to others. How can we do that if we’re fussing about the finer points of the Law? Beyond that, this isn’t optional in the Christian life. Paul says we’re not “permitted to insist on our own way in these matters.” He adds, “Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ.”
Take Away: If God’s people live in obedience to these words of Scripture the entire church world will be turned upside down.