Pastoring in the modern era has a great many conveniences that were not available to God’s men in bygone days.
I can only imagine (provided he did not play Pokémon Go) how much the great apostle Paul could have accomplished if he had lived in the era of cell phones. I realize that they are a bit of a two-edged sword, but I truly love the pastoral benefits of the cell phone era.
I regularly send a mass text to every member of my church who has a cell phone. I can reach the entire church body in a matter of seconds. I also use the phone to text individual, personal messages, bits of encouragement to those who are in need or bits of instruction to those who have questions.
My church members are just as active in this as I am. However, I have found that, as great of a tool as the cell phone and the text is, it can also provide for some incredibly entertaining moments.
Some time back, one of the great men in our church sent me a text. It was encouraging, something that he had gotten out of his personal devotions that morning that he wanted to share with me.
Like many of our folks, he was using talk to text.
Now, the problem with talk to text is that you do not usually really see what you have written before you send it. Compound that with the fact that our mouth often works faster than our brain, and you have the potential for hilarity. And thus it was that on that day I received a wonderful text that ended with the words, “Love you, babe!”
I knew immediately what had happened. Halfway through the text he had forgotten that he was about to send it to me, and had gotten the idea that he was sending it to his wife. That, though, did not stop me from enjoying the mischievous nature I was born with. I suppose that is why my return text to him was, “Well, thanks a bunch, Sugar Booger, I love you, too!”
It was only a few seconds later that he called, apologizing profusely and confirming my suspicions. He had indeed forgotten that he was about to send that text to me instead of his wife.
For my part, I was laughing hysterically.
The entire episode was a very clear case of a mixed message. Part of the content was intended for me, part of the content was intended for someone else.
As you study your Bible, is very helpful to be aware that the same thing is true there. It is a bit unwise to say things like, “every promise of Scripture is for you.” The truth of the matter is, not every promise of Scripture is for you, nor is every promise of Scripture for me. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The Bible must be rightly divided in order to be rightly understood. There are some promises and covenants that apply only to the Jewish people themselves. There are some that apply only to the church. There are some portions of the Old Testament law that were completely fulfilled in Christ and are not binding on anyone today. There are prophecies of the future that deal solely with the Jewish people, and there are prophecies of the future that deal solely with the church.
There are promises that are unconditional, things that God will do for us no matter what we do.
There are also conditional promises, things that God will do for us based on our obedience to his commands.
Scripture is too precious and too powerful to be handled lightly. Give yourself to the study of it.
The brethren in Berea were described as “more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Even in the face of the preaching of the great apostle Paul, these noble believers understood that it was their responsibility to go to the written word of God and find out if his words lined up with it.
Being a daily, consistent student of the word is noble. And it might just prevent us from any spiritual “Sugar Boogers and Babes.”
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. Dr. Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.