Every Christian has an opinion about what the priority needs to be in their home church. The beauty of the local assembly is that it is comprised of many different people, all of them uniquely fashioned by the Father for an express purpose in His Kingdom. None of us are wired exactly the same as another. God intends to take the intentional diversity which He ordained in the Church, and use it in a conscious, functional stream of unity which is facilitated by His multifaceted children. We are supposed to be different yet unified. Danger arises when a believer gets tunnel vision and makes his or her hardwiring to be the singular template by which all other believers are measured. Evangelists might look down at those who are not robust witnesses. Behind-the-scenes servants can grow skeptical of the authenticity of those who are visible on the worship team’s well-lighted stage. Merciful saints might wonder in sadness why more people don’t make in home visits, hospital stops or spend two hours at the funeral home with those in grief. Prophetic people get frustrated with teachers and preachers who diligently expound verse-by-verse the Scriptures. The collisions in the Church can be numerous, and only the humble will train their eyes on Jesus to fulfill their own marching orders, while validating the different beat that He calls others to march unto. Here is what the Apostle Paul commanded Timothy, the young pastor, to prioritize in his life and ministry:
“Until I come, devote yourself…to the Scriptures, to exhortation, to teaching.” – 1st Timothy 4:13
Like it or not, the Bible is the foundational fixture of the Body life of the Church. I am not hijacking the Kingdom here, I am simply saying that the Scriptures must remain in the forefront of who we are and what we do as believers. The Scriptures reveal who God is. The Scriptures unveil how God works. It is from the understanding of the Bible that we perceive what God is doing, and what He is to do in the future. All prophetic ministry must submit to the authority of the written Word. Unlike any other book in the hands of mankind, God’s word is the unique revelation of “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him” (2nd Peter 1:3). We will be judged according to what is written. We are instructed by the very book that serves as an available revelation of the invisible God. Though we are benefited by other books, no other writing is said to be “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12). Amazingly, this holy book is God’s greatest material gift to the world, and yet it is the gift that has fallen into abuse, misuse and, sadly, in too many churches, disuse. I would like to witness a renaissance of prioritizing the Word among those people who live and minister in my same tribe. Truly, I want ALL the power, ALL the miracles, ALL the gifts, and ALL the supernatural elements of our faith. Yet I want those things to be anchored in the objective truth of God’s eternal word. The gifts are my green-light. The Word is my guardrails.
Paul taught Timothy to be devoted to the communicating of the Scriptures. I am a pastor, and this same call is also the mandate upon my life and ministry. Pastors are to read the word publicly when the Church is gathered. Pastors are to teach it accurately and clearly, so it will profit those who hear it with faith. Then, perhaps my favorite part, is the expectation of God upon pastors to call the hearers to action. We are to exhort, embolden, encourage, equip and release those whom we teach! Paul wanted Timothy to put a lit match to the Spirit-soaked congregation that gathered to hear him. Then those Christian torches were to be sent forth to spread the flame.
Friends, go hard after all that God has for you. We have not even begun to scratch the surface of what is available to us in this life. Press in, pray passionately, wait patiently, expect hungrily, call out daily, and then get up and breathlessly chase after your inheritance without looking back!
Just make sure to bring your open bible with you as you run.