Details matter. By nature I think globally, abstractly; as Director of Missions I should think big, look down the road, and ponder “what if.” I tend to see the big picture instead of individual pieces that make up that big picture. If you look at the big picture as a jigsaw puzzle, and one piece is missing on a 500 piece puzzle you still have 99.8% of the puzzle intact. But if you’ve ever started those puzzles, is it not annoying and frustrating after hours of patiently fitting together the pieces to discover it is agonizingly incomplete? In regards to fine tuning machinery, slivers of microns can make the difference in a large coal mining rig lasting years or just months. No surgeon would operate without first knowing precise measurements and taking multiple X-rays, MRI’s, C/T or PET scans to make doubly sure the opening is exactly right. Every carpenter can quote the old maxim to you, measure once, cut twice; measure twice, cut once. So why do I mention this?
This past week our Disaster Relief coordinator and I zeroed in on a tool trailer to replace the one deployed so many times last summer in our WV flood cleanup. We had one chosen that even with mileage to go pick it up, lodging for overnight, and meals en route we were still saving $100’s. One small problem: the measurements we were using took into account the actual trailer box AND hitch, and the manufacturer meant actual trailer box only. Our shed was built with our current trailers in mind. I have never bought a trailer like this, and when I bought my personal camper trailer last year, I was not storing it in a shed, so approximate lengths were good enough for comparison shopping. We had to call off a deal we had made, not to mention the retrieval trip, days away, hotel reservations, etc. Our dilemma necessitated innovation, and Jim finally creatively reconfigured the storage procedure on our two trailers that opened up some more storage space. As I write we are closing in on a deal for the new replacement trailer that will actually provide us more internal space than the original one.
In scripture, details matter. If you look at the Bible vs. an entire library, it looks pretty small. We as believers say God’s word is truth (Jo. 17.17) that means every phrase in what you and I consider the written word of God is important and was carefully chosen. Every adjective, every name, every description deserves our careful study so we may correctly interpret the passage, what the KJV calls “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2.15) and other translations call “’rightly or ‘correctly’ or ‘accurately’ handling the truth.” One small example that possibly makes a large difference in how we view responsibilities for ministry in the church is Ephesians 4.12. Some translations have God giving us pastors and teachers “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” while others have “to equip the saints, for the work of the ministry.”
One comma doesn’t seem to make much difference (or so think my online seminary students in their research papers), but in this case it can change our perspective on the duties of pastors/teachers. With the comma Eph. 4.11-12 reads as if pastors have double duty of equipping the saints and doing the work of ministry. Without the comma it changes the duty of the pastor to training the saints so THEY do the work of the ministry. In light of other passages about discipleship (2 Tim. 2.2) the latter seems to be more in line with the total body of Christ being engaged in the ‘work of the ministry.’ Yet some churches just pew-sit, expecting the pastor to be the “hired gun,” the “professional Christian” & do all visitation, evangelism, teaching, and leading of the church. Join us this fall in Kingdom Advance classes as we assist our students in “rightly dividing” the Word of God. This year we will offer six classes in OT, NT, understanding the Bible, and theology.
Brochures coming soon.