If anyone teaches anything different and doesn’t agree with sound teaching about our Lord Jesus Christ and teaching that is consistent with godliness, 4 that person is conceited. They don’t understand anything but have a sick obsession with debates and arguments. This creates jealousy, conflict, verbal abuse, and evil suspicions. 5 There is constant bickering between people whose minds are ruined and who have been robbed of the truth. They think that godliness is a way to make money! 6 Actually, godliness is a great source of profit when it is combined with being happy with what you already have. 7 We didn’t bring anything into the world and so we can’t take anything out of it: 8 we’ll be happy with food and clothing. 9 But people who are trying to get rich fall into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and harmful passions that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal. 11 But as for you, man of God, run away from all these things. Instead, pursue righteousness, holy living, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Compete in the good fight of faith. Grab hold of eternal life—you were called to it, and you made a good confession of it in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I command you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and Christ Jesus, who made the good confession when testifying before Pontius Pilate. 14 Obey this order without fault or failure until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 The timing of this appearance is revealed by God alone, who is the blessed and only master, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16 He alone has immortality and lives in light that no one can come near. No human being has ever seen or is able to see him. Honor and eternal power belong to him. Amen.1 Timothy 6:3-16
We continue in strange times, indeed. But strange times are not all that unusual for humanity. We have been through difficult, even much more difficult, times in the past. Humanity, and the church, has endured. Why? Because there is a greater truth. We keep forgetting that the real strength is with God, not with our own understanding or resources. We continually move to a fear and hoarding mentality when we fear that the future we planned for is in jeopardy. The letter to Timothy gives a different focus. That focus is why we, as the church, will continue.
As part of reclaiming that focus, I would like us to really hone in on what is important to us in our context of ministry. Each congregation, each generation, has a different list of what is a “core value” that defines the most important, common reasons why it exists. Between now and our July council meeting, I would like us to all think carefully about what is the most important to us. Send me a short list (5 or less) your core value words. I will compile all of these, and together with the church council, will narrow this list down to a few words that define who and what we are. This list of core values will influence everything we do, and enable us to continue through whatever pandemic, political climate, or church law confront us in the future. We are God’s people in this place in this time. Let us get really clear on our incarnation of what that means, together.
Yours in Christ,