For the last few days I had the privilege of attending the Gospel Coalition Conference at the Rosemont Convention Center. The Gospel Coalition is a group of pastors and church leaders that hold to the conviction that the gospel of Jesus Christ must stay at the center of life and ministry, and at this conference I had the opportunity to hear messages from many widely-respected pastors. It has been a refreshing week, and my heart and mind are full!
Something that Ligon Duncan said in his message on 2 Timothy 4:6-22 really made me think. He said, “People often treat benedictions like the emergency instructions you hear on an airplane. They zone out and think they don’t need to listen because they’ve heard them a million times. But I guarantee you, those passengers on Flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River were wishing they would’ve listened a little better to those instructions!”
The word benediction comes from the Latin word meaning “to bless.” Benedictions in scripture, such as the one in 2 Timothy 4:22, “The Lord be with your spirit – grace be with you” are not just a formal part of the letter that the author was required to throw in. It’s the same with our benedictions at the close of our services here at ACC. They are not just a nice way to end the service. They are meant to send people out with hope by speaking about the truth of who God is. They are designed to equip us for the battles we will face in the week ahead, until we can gather again as a church.
So how do you treat benedictions? Do you zone out and start thinking about what’s for lunch? Or do you soak in every word and think about it so you can bring it to memory again later in the week when you are exhausted and need a spiritual “pick me up”?