What is the bottom line? My wife and I just purchased a new car and that was the question that we asked ourselves as well as the dealer who sold us the car. With that question fresh on my mind, I thought about it in a larger context; namely life. What is my bottom line as I think about events in my life? I think about the questions I have faced over sixty-five plus years. What should I study in college? What invitation from churches to become their pastor should I accept or not accept? How much should I save for retirement and how much should I give to charity? Other events caused me to face the reality of life and death as I had to undergo two major surgeries over the last decade. What is my bottom line?
I think we can ask that in a broader context as well. As elders that give leadership and define the ministry of the church, what is your bottom line? For me both in my personal life and as a pastor it is Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”, (Ephesians 6:1). I like that verse because it gives us a “final bottom line” statement of faith. It is a verse that reflects final line for the Old Testament character, Job. (Job 42:3) “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know”. Job acknowledges that he needs to find his strength not in himself but in God. The greatest example is Jesus Christ as he faces the reality of the cross. “Father, if you are willing take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). I believe that every prayer I speak should include the words, “Yet not my will, but yours be done”. They are not easy words to pray and really mean it.
I think that Paul’s words to the church encompass all that God does in creation and recreation. The God who not only created us in his image, but despite our sin recreates us in Jesus Christ with the promise of eternal life. I can relate to Job’s words in which he recognizes he is not in control but God is. The God who does things far beyond his imagination is his strength.
There are many reasons why people attend your church. Friends, fellowship, programs, dynamic worship services, etc., but what is the bottom line message that the church conveys through all that it does? It would be interesting to ask the question of those who worship at your church, “What is your bottom line?” Or to ask you as a leader in the church, “What is our bottom line as we give direction to the church? Is the answer you give being conveyed to those who attend your church?