“Remembering the Fundamentals”
Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 2:1-5
“When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
It was the summer of 1961 and Green Bay Packer Head Coach, Vince Lombardi, started the camp holding something that needed no explanation and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
In those 5 words, he was basically saying, “if you want to be successful, we’re going to remember the basics and make sure we’re executing the fundamentals.” Lombardi’s focus continued throughout the entire training camp. Each player reviewed and remembered the fundamentals of their position, with things like, how to defend and tackle, how to catch and throw, how to stand and run, -- and ultimately, how to think.
Six months later, the same group of men gathered together to hear another one of Vince Lombardi’s speeches. This time it was to celebrate their NFL Championship and their 37–0 victory over my beloved New York Giants. The point is, by remembering the fundamentals, they had become the best in the league at the tasks everyone else took for granted.
The Apostle Paul, a scholar and intellectual, breaks down the core message of the Christian faith so that all may understand the scope of its power and impact for our lives. And as smart as he is, he also recognizes his own human limitations of language in not being able to fully articulate the “power of God.” And finally, he also doesn’t want the people to fall in love with his eloquence, but with the message that it conveys about the power of Jesus Christ.
How often do we take the Christian message, and make it more complicated than it should be? Just as the basic fundamentals of football (running, blocking, tackling) make for success, we would do well to not obfuscate the simple, yet powerful truth of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Prayer: God, help us all to speak, share, and act in a way that is consistent with your gospel truth. May we not get mired down in the non-essentials, but in what really matters for our faith. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.