GOD’S WORDS HAVE PURPOSE
The Essence of Truth
Most things can be reduced to their essence. To illustrate, read this conversation that took place at a small Midwestern manufacturing firm.
“Good morning, Carter. How was the trip?”
“Fine, Fine. But you wouldn’t believe what I had to go through to get there. First, the airport was jammed. My flight was filled to capacity, and we waited on the ground for almost forty-five minutes while they de-iced the plane. Because of that, I made a mad dash across O’Hare to make the next plane. When I got to Atlanta . . .”
“Hold on . . . wait!” the boss interrupts, waving his arms like a carrier deck leader waving off a jet on a bad approach. “Did you close the deal or not?”
The boss headed straight for the bottom line; he could hear the details later.
Jesus had a knack for cutting through the details as well. He once summarized the entire Old Testament law in two sentences, saying, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’” and “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40). That’s it? In a manner of speaking, yes. But look what “it” is: Love God and love your neighbor. That’s a lifetime’s assignment!
Condensing something into its essence doesn’t mean leaving anything out. The essence of something is like the mass of an atom. It’s all there; we just can’t see it.
Perhaps the most famous condensation of truth found in the Old Testament occurs in Ecclesiastes 12:13. Solomon had written a lot in his later years about how confusing life seems when you look at it from a human perspective. His conclusion is complex enough for the subject of a theological dissertation, yet simple enough for anyone to comprehend: “Fear God and keep His commandments.”
When life gets confusing and hard to decipher, don’t reach too high. Just head for the bottom line of the spiritual life like Solomon did: Fear and obey God.
Your life purpose will be fulfilled in fearing God and obeying His Word.