The Main Thing
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Though I have read the words many times before, last week I was struck by them. “’Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.’ These words along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament.” Leadership author Stephen Covey once wrote, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” As Lutheran Christians, guided by the Word of God, everything we “do” should always be focused on keeping the main thing (delivering Jesus Christ to us through Word and Sacraments for our faith and the forgiveness of our sins) always as the center of our preaching, teaching and life together. Everything comes back to the doctrine of justification, the article on which the Church stands or falls.
When we are receiving the Lord’s Supper or teaching the Word of God, the main thing is always Christ for us for the forgiveness of our sins. We baptize for the sake of the main thing. The pastoral office was instituted for the sole purpose of bringing to the people of God forgiveness, life, and salvation. All Christians though bear witness to Christ in their daily callings for the sake of the Gospel.
There is a danger that we allow other things to become the main thing. However, God’s Word keeps us on track with our eyes focused on and our ears attuned to Christ Jesus. St. Paul doesn’t call it the “main thing,” but he does say that “of first importance” is the message that Christ died for our sins. That is the main thing in every Early Childhood Center and Lutheran School. That is the main thing as pastors preach the Word and administer the Sacraments. That is the main thing because it assures us of the forgiveness of sins that we have now, but also of the hope we have for everlasting life with Jesus in the resurrection and the life everlasting.
Prayer – Almighty God, grant to Your Church Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom that comes down from above, that Your Word may not be bound but have free course and preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people, that in steadfast faith we may serve You and, in the confession of Your name, abide unto the end; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan