I spend way too much time reading blogs.
One of the themes that keeps recurring as I spend way too much time reading blogs is some variation of the question, “What’s the most important thing?”
While discussions that follow in the posts and the comments are interesting – usually spawning a variety of answers and logic and texts to support them – I always come away with a nagging feeling of discontent. The issue of “the most important thing” is hardly ever resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.
It makes me wonder if there is no single “most important thing.”
What is most important for me may be of little importance to you. That may be true because of our heritage, our opinions, our outlook on life, our way of viewing scripture, our perception of God, our age, our maturity, our circumstances in life and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. (That is an obscure term, probably Yiddish in origin, used by scholars to denote a precise and genuine meaning of which no one is exactly certain.)
Maybe what’s most important for Mike Cope is to reach the difficult-to-reach through a really challenging new ministry. Maybe what’s most important for Larry James is to help marginalized people help themselves. Maybe what’s most important for Charles Kiser is to teach a variety of people about God’s love from a tiny but growing church plant.
Maybe God has given us all different gifts – and different blends of gifts – through the same Spirit for the common good of the body. (1 Corinthians 12)
For the folks in Corinth, “Keeping God’s commands is what counts.” (1 Corinthians 7:19)
For the folks spread across Galatia, “… what counts is a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)
In both cases, circumcision or uncircumcision counts for nothing.
For the folks Paul wrote in Rome, Abraham was justified by faith not works – because they were struggling with the idea that they had to earn justification (Romans 4).
For the folks James wrote, Abraham was justified by faith through works – because they were struggling with indolence and a misconception that mental assent justified them (James 2).
In both cases, active acceptance of God’s work in one’s life is absolutely crucial.
So for some, the most important thing is to call on God once they’ve heard; for others, it’s to preach; for still others, it’s to send those who will preach (Romans 10:14-15). And perhaps, as time goes on, those priorities will change according to the blend of gifts God sends them.
For the rich young ruler, the most important thing was to sell all his stuff so he could follow Jesus. (Matthew 19:21)
For one disciple, it was to follow right then without burying his father first. (Matthew 8:21)
I think, down deep, each one of us has a solid, reliable intuition about what is most important in this life. So perhaps when we ask the question, it should be “What’s the most important thing for me right now within God’s will?”
Maybe I’m just rationalizing in frustration. I gotta tell you, though …
This possibility that “the most important thing may be different for people that God made different” is of some comfort to me.
Except for the overwhelming conviction that I spend way too much mind-preoccupying, opportunity-squandering, butt-numbing time reading and writing blogs about the most important thing.
… when I should be out, going and preaching and baptizing and making disciples and teaching and doing good like Jesus did.
Maybe that’s the most ….