Paul’s descriptions of our world are not theoretical. Operating within some of the largest and most progressive cities in the world – Athens, Rome, Ephesus, Thessalonica, and Corinth – he got to see the effects of living without the good teaching of Christ which he called “healthy.” See 1 Timothy 6:3 and 2 Timothy 1:13.
It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to see the harm caused by living without the sensible and healthy way of life to which God calls us. Take, for example, the young woman who has lived in serial marriages and whose child carries within her face the sadness of someone lacking stability, familial attention, training, and laughter.
Or the young man addicted to alcohol, full of anger, and adrift in life. An alcohol-caused wreck landed him in intensive care with brain damage. Why would it be so hard to convince him that another way of life might be in order?
Paul warned Timothy that difficult times would come in “the last days.” Often quoted cynically as if to say, “look how awful and unredeemable” people will become in the end of time,” what if it were a call to Jesus followers to pay more attention to the incredible needs of our world: addiction, bankruptcy of relationships, and perversion of desire.
Church planters have unique opportunities today. Unsequestered by church campuses and paneled offices, planters who make themselves generally available to their communities engender respect and trust not accorded to many pastors.
The rewards are incredible. It’s not unusual to see a family that gave up on church shows up at worship, out of the blue, because a planter paid attention to them at the grocery store, city council meeting, or local soccer game.
It is at such times that the depth of despair along with the value of “healthy” teaching and mentoring become apparent. This is that to which Christ has called us.