Keep the Main thing the Main thing
Why don’t you keep the Main thing the Main thing? My dad would always tease me with that saying growing up. The funny thing is I never realized how vital a statement that actually is. Let me explain why…
Having graduated with a B.A in Bible Exposition, I have been well trained in Biblical studies. There is always more to learn and the Word of God is limitless in its richness, but now working for a para-church organization, one of the missing training pieces is the practical side of running an organization effectively. For this reason, I have been reading business books like “Good to Great” and “Built to Last”. They add practical suggestions for how to efficiently run an organization. One of the things that came up in both books is staying true to your core values. Everything you do and decision you make must be true to your core values and mission. For example, a phone company should not try to sell cars or a Christian organization should not teach the Koran. Obviously these examples make sense, but this principle has to be true in every decision. It is just like what Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. This Biblical truth, though spoken for a very different reason, is the same principle that the author of these books was pointing out. You cannot exist for one reason and do another and expect to survive.
So how dies this apply to keeping the main thing the main thing? Well to often in our Christian lives we do not keep the “core values” at the front of our vision, rather we let side issues become our focus. What do I mean by this? Well, I was at a conference a couple weeks ago and I had a college student come up to me. He asked me what YMI‘s stance was on the sign gifts. I chuckled and told him that we don’t take a stance on that as an organization because that is not why we exist. He clarified and said that if he was on the field and saw someone hurt he was going to pray for them and expect God to heal them. I wanted to shake my head in disgust. The zeal was admirable but the boldness was young and immature. I replied that it would depend on what missionary he was with. In some places he could do that without offending anyone, but in other places that could cause a lot of problems. It is the whole Romans 14 principle.
You see the debate here is not if the sign gifts are for today or not, but rather it is the insistence of pushing forth your nonessential doctrinal issues at the expense of the gospel! Now I am not saying that doctrinal issues are not important, because they are and should be discussed and acted upon, but when you insist that you are going to push a doctrinal practice that can be very divisive at all cost then you have lost focus from the main thing. Take for example Latin America, the Charismatic Movement (sign gifts) there has been a very divisive movement. So, if you go down and start all this preaching of the gifts, you might be destroying your opportunities of sharing the gospel because you just identified yourself with the extreme group that is rolling on the ground life dogs. The danger is we get caught up in proving our hobby horse that we damage the chance of sharing the gospel by which we were saved. Let us commit to keeping the main thing the main thing, and to debate doctrine when appropriate but never at the sake of the gospel.