After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.)
An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” John 2:22-26
Things really haven’t changed much through the years. Here we have some of John’s disciples who were concerned about the other guy – Jesus – baptizing and receiving a following. They were missing something extremely important: they were witnesses to the actions and words of the very Son of God! He had been in their midst. How could they not see the difference? How could they even concern themselves about brinkmanship or oneupmanship when there are clearly more worthy things to squabble over?
They did. And we do.
We often miss the “bigger picture” when we have petty squabbles about church-related things. Doctrinal matters are worth fighting for but style of music, church decor, or what to put up on weekly church signs are fairly straight forward activities that should require no more than five or ten minutes of our time. Literally. The bigger picture of how to disciple, help the poor, or advance the kingdom of God should occupy our thoughts and imaginations. Unfortunately, it’s a rarity if churches spend more than a minute arguing over the big picture tasks while debating for weeks or months about pew cushions or carpeting.
Interestingly, an acquaintance of mine in the business world spends no more than one minute deciding things that would affect him or his family for the next 12 months. A literal sixty seconds. He’s quick to make those decisions and move on to the more important tasks.
He – a man of the world – gets it.