The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 1 Tim 1:5&6
When Paul urges Timothy to keep his eyes on the focus of God’s work, he encourages him to steer clear of those things that distract and are futile.
Maybe our churches are not struggling with the same myths and discussions of genealogies that some of the churches in Paul’s day were, ( although I know, even now, that is till a problem in places) there are many other ways we are distracted from God’s goal of proclaiming faith in Christ.
A while back two different colleagues were describing congregational meetings in their respective churches. One church had spent hours on the budget for the church kitchen and at the other church the members discussed Sunday School and when it should start. It was all about 15 minutes one way or the other. In the mean time, I thought, people are missing out on the message of grace through Christ.
Committed Christians are usually alert and stand up to the likes of Richard Dawkins and his militant atheism, but often we are our own worst enemies when it comes to “meaningless talk”. Too often we don’t heed Paul’s message to focus on that which is at the heart of our faith – Christ. Rather we are distracted by irrelevant noise from within the church.
The church’s task is mission – proclaiming Christ and his Kingdom. Sadly our lack of effectiveness comes from not heeding Paul’s challenge to Timothy.
Speaking of effectiveness: (a segue) Church leaders are keen for followers to tithe ( a discussion for another day) but what if we conscientiously tithed our time? Just imagine, starting from a minimalist position, we tithed the equivalent of a working week. That is we gave a 10% contribution of time. The result would be that for every active adult church attender, they would give a minimum of 4 hours to the direct advancement of the Kingdom. For every 10 adults that would equal a full time worker. I know many people do more than this. But what if every church member did this? One hundred members would equal 10 full time workers. Just think of all the work we could do in all of our communities to make God’s name known!
Rather than “meaningless talk” constructive Kingdom building sounds a lot better.