Bob Tamasy: Focusing On The Dos, Rather Than The Don'ts

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

The question has often been asked, “Can Christians dance?” The real answer to the question is, “Some can, some can’t.” (Just like any other group of people!) Having been a churchgoer for most of my life, and a follower of Christ for nearly 40 years, I’ve often heard debates on the do’s and don’ts of living out our faith. These range from going to the movies or doing any kind of work on Sunday to whether drinking alcohol, even in moderation, is a taboo.

We also find disagreement on a wide range of traditional practices, like baptism, communion, forms of worship, who are qualified for church leadership roles, and which version of the Bible to use.

You could probably add other topics to the list. Most of these are subject for discussion – sometimes, even bitter dispute – because the Scriptures aren’t absolute on them, leaving room for interpretation and personal conviction. A lot of time and energy is expended seeking to resolve the seemingly unresolvable, while failing to devote nearly as much attention and effort to indisputable matters.

We become so focused on the “don’ts,” we forget about the “do’s.”

For example, the Bible says we’re all responsible for telling others about Jesus, that it’s not just the job for paid professionals. However, studies indicate in the typical church, less than 10 percent of its members have spoken to even one person about Christ in the past year.

This despite the clear admonition, How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15). Nowhere does this suggest it applies only to pastors and missionaries.

Just before Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He gave His followers one final, ironclad mandate: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). And yet, every year new books and sermon series address the why’s and how’s of discipleship and disciplemaking, as if it’s a newly discovered, 21st century concept. We have Sunday schools and small groups, but relatively few congregations place emphasis on what Jesus commanded: to make disciples – devoted followers, learners and spiritual reproducers.

Nevertheless, His mandate is unquestionable. In 2 Timothy 2:2, the apostle Paul told his young protégé, And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” Later, while in prison, toward the end of his life, the apostle also wrote, Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9). In other words, be a disciple…and make disciples.

The Scriptures present numerous other “to do’s,” ranging from “love your neighbors as yourselves” (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, James 2:8) and “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12), to numerous exhortations in both the Old and New testaments to serve and minister to the poor, the needy, widows and orphans, and the helpless.

We’re told to make others a top priority – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). As well as to be “salt and light,” to provide savor and illumination for an increasingly embittered and darkened world (Matthew 5:13-15).

These just scratch the tip of the Bible’s “iceberg” of positive commands. What if we spent as much time (or more) focused on the things we know without a doubt we should do, as we do commiserating about what we shouldn’t do? Perhaps more people would realize what we already know: That the gospel of Jesus Christ truly is Good News.

----

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Nativity Rising Artists Concert To Be Held Feb. 11 At Nativity Episcopal Church

On the final Sunday of Epiphany celebration of the Transfiguration, Nativity Episcopal Church opens the second year of its Rising Artists series with flutist Daniel Esperante performing selections from Telemann’s Fantasie No. 10 for solo flute, Bach’s g-minor Flute Sonata, Krebs’s Fantasie for flute and organ in C, Poulenc’s Flute Sonata and the Reinecke Flute Concerto.  This ... (click for more)

Phil Wickham To Continue Lee’s U-Church Season

Lee University will welcome Phil Wickham on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Conn Center to kick off the Spring U-Church lineup.  Mr. Wickham, who has always been surrounded by music, got an early start in the music industry. He began leading worship at his home church by the age of 13, and by 18, he had already recorded an independent album.  Mr. Wickham draws ... (click for more)

Woman Who Took Truck Driver's Blood At Tragic Wreck Scene: "It Was Like Nothing Had Happened"

The woman who took a blood draw from a Kentucky truck driver who had just wrecked and claimed six lives said, "I was thrown by his demeanor. It was like nothing had happened." Lisa Martin told a jury from Nashville on Monday afternoon that Benjamin Scott Brewer kept asking when he could go home. Brewer was eventually allowed to leave, but was later charged and is facing trial ... (click for more)

Haslam Announces "Agressive, Comprehensive Plan" To End Tennessee's Opioid Epidemic

Joined by leadership from the House and Senate and Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Monday announced an aggressive and comprehensive plan to end the opioid epidemic in Tennessee by focusing on three major components: prevention, treatment and law enforcement. TN Together is a multi-faceted initiative that addresses the issue of opioid addiction through ... (click for more)

General Bell: This Government Shutdown Is Outrageous - And Response (2)

The day before yesterday two Army Apache Attack Helicopter pilots were killed in a crash during training at Fort Irwin, Ca.  The pilots and their unit were preparing for a future deployment to combat operations.    As a result of the government shutdown, none of the spouses or families of these pilots will receive a dime from the United States Government in immediate ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Making A Difference

It was about 50 years ago when the late writer Loren Eiseley penned an essay called “The Starfish Thrower” so it’s been one of my favorite stories for almost as long. It tells about a man who walks up to a young boy on a beach, this just after a strong storm had washed hundreds of helpless starfish onto the shore. The boy was picking up the stranded starfish and, one at a time, ... (click for more)