Skip to main content

Convenience should not be our guide

Convenient vs. inconvenient.  We are all faced with the challenges each and everyday which make us choose between what is convenient vs. what is a "little bit" to a "whole lot" inconvenient for us.  When a friend asks for a ride home from work, if it is on the way home, it is convenient, so you probably don't balk.  When they ask for a ride way out of your way, you might just be thinking up the excuses right now for why you could not do it today!  We often look for excuses when something is a little bit harder than what we expected, or what we think to be "convenient" for the moment.  If conversation comes hard for you, when another wants to sit with you and begin to explore your day, including your "feelings" of the day, you might just see this as a threat and come up with those excuses for why "now" is not the right time!  If it is "easy", we seldom resist - but add any element of difficulty to a situation and we will scatter like ants in the rain!  This can be especially true when we know what needs to be said in a particular situation, but find the "gospel message" we know to be truth which could bring light into the moment a little too "hard" to speak.  Truth is hard to speak - especially if it may place us at opposition to those with a more "popular" opinion.

Preach the word. Be ready to do it whether it is convenient or inconvenient. Correct, confront, and encourage with patience and instruction. There will come a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. They will collect teachers who say what they want to hear because they are self-centered. They will turn their back on the truth and turn to myths.   (2 Timothy 4:2-4 CEB)

Popular opinion is okay up to a point.  When it applies to whether we think a particular sports team will win the big game, popular opinion, complete with everyone's "statistical analysis" of the players, is probably enough and okay for the predictions.  When it comes to determining who we should marry, we don't want to rely upon "popular opinion" for that one!  The truth needs to be considered, and "popular opinion" can sometimes be "short" on truth and "long" on pre-conceived ideas.  When Paul instructs Timothy to "preach the word" by being "ready" whether it is convenient or not, he is really telling him the "popular opinion" vote may get cast, but we are not to get caught up in it.  

Why is "popular opinion" so dangerous for us?  Simply put, it is because "popular opinion" often be what we want to hear, rather than what we need to hear.  As Paul puts it, we look for teachers who will "tickle our fancy" - their message is "convenient" and doesn't challenge us too much.  This is why most of the "mixed messages" of today's culture are kind of appealing to the masses.  For example, the message we can call ourselves "Christians" at census time just because we go to church on Sundays is not exactly truth.  Nowhere in scripture does it ever imply a "Christian" is a "church-goer".  In fact, most of the time Christ's followers are simply called "followers" or "disciples" because there is way more to this "business" of being a "Christian" than warming a pew!

The warning Paul gives is almost the state we see around us today - people seeking out those who will tickle their fancies because they are "self-centered" and "self-centered" people have a hard time with "sound teaching".  They want watered-down instruction - make the gospel easy and they want it; challenge them with it and they find a new church or move to fire the pastor!  Be the lone voice in a crowd and see how comfortable it is!  It is doggone uncomfortable - the term "inconvenient" is exactly correct.  The message doesn't "suit" the needs or purposes of those hearing it, so it is "inconvenient".  To this Paul's instruction is simple:  "Preach on anyway"!  

When I first took on this daily sharing of my time with the Lord, one of the things which intimidated me a little was others knowing what God was dealing with me about in my own life.  You see, a good teacher will do more than tickle the ears of the hearer (or reader).  They will be willing to share bits and pieces of their lives.  As truth becomes real to me, I share it with you - in turn, you get to know a little about me.  This makes me a little vulnerable.  In essence, Paul is saying we all need to be a little vulnerable at times - not clamming up just because the message might be hard, or border on the "inconvenient" side of the discussion. Truth is only going to do the work it is capable of doing when it is shared - it doesn't always need to be immediately embraced, for truth will linger and erode away at untruth in the process.  Speak it and let it do the work it was designed to do - you aren't responsible for the hearer embracing it - just the sharing of it, the living by it, and the trusting in it!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce