Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

Perhaps you’ve heard it said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Good advice. But when it comes to being a Christian leader or even just a Christian learner, what’s the main thing?? I’ve wondered about this lately…
Timothy was a young leader in Ephesus. Gifted, but insecure. Having just taken the reigns from the Apostle Paul (no big deal), I’m sure he was eager to hear advice on how to be a “successful Pastor”. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he tells him what the main thing is…
“The goal of our instruction is love, from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” – 1 Timothy 1:5
For Paul, the goal of his leading and teaching is love (the Greek word agape) – the same love with which God loved the world by sending Jesus to die for our sins and give us eternal life (John 3:16).
If I were Timothy, I might have interrupted, “Wait a second Paul, isn’t the goal of our instruction sound doctrine??” But Paul didn’t mince words. He doesn’t want his audience (or Timothy’s) to become expert scholars in the Biblical text, to become powerful leaders, or to become mission-minded disciple-makers. At least that’s not his stated goal.
Paul’s clear and unambiguous goal is that the people in his care become more like God in this way. What way? In His unending, never-stopping, sacrificial, agape-love.
May we, as Christian learners and leaders in various capacities, never forget that the goal of our instruction is love, from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Matt Murphy
Lead Pastor
“… We know that ‘We all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” – 1 Corinthians 8:2
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