What is the main idea?

After spending hours working on a semester final for my sophomores with a fellow teacher, I was drained and ready for sleep.  We had spent all of this time trying to create the perfect final–the perfect blend of justice and mercy.  Our administration had instructed us to create higher level thinking questions and steer away from simple memorization.  The intention of the test was not to fail them all or make them have a heart attack but to help them wrap their arms around the semester.  And by writing the final, it helped me do the same.  We were constantly asking the question, “What is the main idea of this section?  If they forget everything else, what should they know about this?”  It was difficult to figure it out at times as we balanced desiring them to know the whole Bible and then honing in on what we saw as the main points.  In the end, it helped us to focus on what is more important.  The details seemed to matter less, some random Babylonian king’s name didn’t need to be recalled, and the class was, hopefully, boiled down to what they should absolutely know.  Was it more important for them to know what each of the Egyptian gods symbolized or that the plagues were a judgment on the gods themselves?  Was it crucial to know who the first king of Israel was or would it be better to know which king God made a covenant with?  The task was difficult because we kept desiring to hold onto these little details, sometimes at the expense of the larger idea.

On the drive home, I had an epiphany.  So often I get caught up in the little details of life, the mistakes and the missteps and forget about the main idea.  How much easier I could make my life if I went through it trying to remember, “What is the main idea?”  If instead of agonizing over the little aspects and focused on the main idea, the goal behind my life (to go to Heaven and be with God for eternity), how much simpler everything would seem.  It will be a struggle to wrap my mind around that and I will be need to be constantly made away of what really matters.  But it seems to me a good practice to develop, if I have but the stamina to do so.  Embrace the little details of life, wrap my mind around it all, and then surrendering it all to the Lord asking Him, “What is the main idea?”

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