Right or Effective?

We have a religious body in our community that is fairly new to this area.  Their facilities, in a prime location, look like a small community college campus.

I recently heard the leader of this very popular growing religious group being interviewed on television.  He ended the interview with this statement, “Our goal isn’t to be right, it is to be effective.”

I think they are accomplishing their goal.  Their numbers are growing exponentially.  Their buildings are magnificent and I am told paid in full as they build.  People are excited about their worship.  Yes, they clearly are being effective.

Effective?  We all want to be effective. We all want to make a difference.

Right?  Well, yes, ideally we would like to be both effective and right.

But which one would you choose as the more important?  What would be your goal? Right or Effective? Remember the statement was “our goal isn’t to be right” so we have to choose.  I am asking, what is your primary goal? To be right or to be effective?

To be effective and yet be wrong; pause and consider what this could mean.  Large numbers, happy people, helping one another, wonderful worship experiences, many activities, close friendships.  But in the end lost if one has sacrificed the truth for effectiveness.

If our goal is to be effective, what happens if we sacrifice truth along the way?

For what profit is it to a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul?  Mt 16:26

To be right.  This must be our primary goal.  If we seek truth, we hope the effectiveness will follow.  But our primary concern must be to seek the truth regardless of what follows.

Consider the words of Paul to the evangelists, Timothy and Titus.  Paul mentioned things “contrary to sound doctrine” in 1 Tim 1:10.  Twice in Titus, in 1:9 and 2:1, Paul makes reference to sound doctrine.

He said the time would come when people would not endure sound doctrine in 2 Tim 4:3.  He goes on to say that according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and turn away their ears from the truth and be turned aside to fables.

Could those described as “according to their own desires”, be those in Paul’s time who were interested in being effective regardless?  Paul certainly sets them in opposition to those with sound doctrine.

What do you suppose would have been Paul’s answer if presented with the choice of right or effective?  There is no question in my mind that Paul’s first responsibility was to be right.

I want to be a part of GOD’S people.  I want to make a difference in the lives of those around me.  I want to be a part of a loving spiritual family.  I want to be surrounded by friends engaged in meaningful worship and service to my GOD.  But in the end what I really want is to be right with Him.

I realize that my salvation depends not on my being effective.  My salvation depends on my being right. My salvation will be only because He loved me enough to send His Son to die in my place.  And through that gracious gift I can have eternal life with Him IF I am right with Him.

I hope to be effective.  I hope to make a difference in the lives of those around me.  I hope to bring honor and glory to my LORD.  But what I really hope is to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”  And I know in order to hear those words I have to be right.  Paul encouraged Titus (1:9) to hold fast to the faithful word, to the sound doctrine, he had been taught.  Help me to the same end O LORD.

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