The Main Thing


[Jesus said,] “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

To accomplish a great thing it has to be the main thing.

I am fascinated with manned space flight. As a space agency plans and prepares for a manned space flight, there are countless systems, protocols, details and contingencies that are discussed, practised and planned. But there is only one main thing: get the crew safely into space, accomplish the mission, and bring them safely back home.

Similarly, Jesus did many things. He ate and slept, he became a builder, he hung around with people, he preached, he healed, he taught. But for Jesus there was only one main thing: to seek and to save the lost. Everything Jesus did supported this one main thing. So Jesus was happiest when he had an opportunity to hang around with people who were considered to be the outcasts of society: the prostitutes, tax collectors and other sinners who were not included in the “church” circles of that day. There was something about Jesus—it was probably the combination of his goodness, his graciousness and his love—that awakened a hunger for God within the hearts of those sinners. Jesus not only awakened that hunger, he satisfied it, and people responded with faith, praise and dedication to God.

What is the Main Thing for Walnut Grove Lutheran Church?

We are part of Christ’s Body in this world. Therefore, the Main Thing for Jesus Christ has to be our Main Thing too. However, I think that we shy away from making seeking and saving the lost our Main Thing for several reasons.

First, we all tend to be self-centred so it is easy for us to drift into making church about us and our needs and desires. Second, we don’t really believe Jesus when he said, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35b). Third, we don’t really believe Jesus when he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). We are intimidated by the thought that the ability to make disciples has to come from us, but it doesn’t. The ability to seek and to save the lost, the ability to make disciples, comes from the power and the presence of Jesus, not us.

When we repent of our false beliefs and believe that the fields are white for the harvest, Jesus will give us opportunities to see the harvest. As we rest in Jesus and let him live his life in and through us, people will encounter some of the goodness, graciousness and love of Jesus when we hang out with them. Jesus, working in and through us, will both awaken and satisfy a God hunger within them. We will see lives changed through the power and the presence of Jesus. Then we will truly be the church that Jesus intends us to be. But it starts with us making Jesus’ Main Thing our Main Thing.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor James

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
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