By Randy C. Davis
President and executive director, TBMB

D.L. Moody once said, “Give me a man who says this one thing I do, and not those fifty things I dabble in.”

I like that. A lot. I want to be a doer. I don’t want to be a dabbler.

In their book, The One Thing, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan wrote, “Once you have figured out what matters, keep asking what matters most until there is only one thing left. That core activity goes at the top of your success list.”   

On my first Sunday at the last church I pastored, I shared with the people that the Lord led me to judge our biblical success on one thing: are lives being transformed by Jesus through the ministries of our church? Not the number or size of the buildings, or the budgets, or the number of baptisms, but the transforming power of the gospel in life after life.

That was the main thing.

Matthew 28:18-20 is commonly referred to as the Great Commission. It could also be referred to as the simple commission, or the singularly focused commission. “Go and make disciples.” Straight forward. Simple. Powerful.

Randy Davis

Jesus’ main thing for His people.

It’s the one thing done around the world. His marching orders to that could not be misinterpreted nor misunderstood. Jesus didn’t dabble. His mission matters more than any other mission.

There will always be distractions. There is always the temptation to do other good things, but most of the time that dabbling comes at a diminished priority of the main thing. We settle for good, and actually do good, and we can believe we we’re doing an adequate job as a Christ follower or as a church. But did “good” become the distraction?

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, widely regarded as the greatest and most influential writer in the German language and has had a lasting influence on Western literary, political, and philosophical thought, said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”

Dr. Jeff Iorg asked a penetrating question that caused me to catch my breath. “Have you buried more people (from your church) than you baptized last year?” Wow. That’s a cold shot of reality.

Too many of our churches are in communities with hundreds and thousands of people within the shadow of the steeple, but they continue a journey more toward the cemetery than into the “fields that are white unto harvest.”

It is disturbing that every few months in “Baptist Zion” we have a fresh urgent dilemma, yet we are not brokenhearted to the point of repentance about our ineffectiveness in engaging an unreached generation in North America. Our forefathers overcame clear theological differences and worked together for the sake of shared missiological imperatives. We sent missionaries to the ends of the globe.

They didn’t dabble in parsing their differences. The main thing was the one thing.

During the 2014 Tennessee Baptist Convention in Brentwood, messengers adopted the Five Objectives to accomplish together. The main thing in those Five Objectives is encapsulated in this single line: “To see 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship.” The other four objectives supported the main thing.   

The same is true as pastors, ministers and laypeople from across our state clarify, prioritize, and strategize the Acts 2:17 Initiatives. The variety of strategies point to the accomplishment of this:  … “until every Tennessean hears the gospel.”

We must be vigilant not to drift from biblical, theological anchors. But how tragic would it be to believe all the right things yet drift in our mission of disciple making.   

Let’s pour ourselves into reaching the spiritually lost of Tennessee, every one of them, with the life transforming power of the gospel. Let’s be doers and not dabblers. Let’s stay focused on that which matters most to the Father: The pursuit of the Great Commission that results in the making of disciples.   

It is a joy to be with you on this journey.

© Tennessee Baptist Mission Board

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