Loosen the soil in the vegetable garden by digging it — check.
Plant tomato seeds — check.
Pull weeds in the perennial flower beds — check.
Mulch around the plants — check.
Water the area — check.
That was done in 2002, in case you were wondering. Some schools of thought would have us believe that now these tasks are finished, and we can enjoy fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers from 2003 until the end of the world.
You don’t believe anyone would be that foolish?
If they were consistent with their thinking, they would.
We find church members who don’t want to hear preaching or teaching on some subjects. “We handled that in the sixties!” they chide.
Preachers are accused of “riding a hobby horse” if they teach more than once or twice on a subject such as marriage or music in worship.
Teachers who talk about the basics of Christianity are told that we must get “beyond the milk and into the meat” of the word. Too many times, this might mean they want to hear something “relevant,” meaning something outside of the word of God.
Of course, being TOO “relevant” is a problem for others. If a currently popular sin is considered cool, you would be considered decidedly uncool to point out scriptures which condemn it.
Especially more than once.
“We’ve already addressed that.”
Well, my garden was planted with tomatoes in 2002, but if I don’t plant seeds, we won’t get to enjoy the juicy goodness of a warm, ripe tomato in 2016. We won’t even get to enjoy the tangy goodness of a fried green tomato.
What if I say that the mulching job was done really well in 2008, and we don’t need to re-hash that old task? It was done really well in 2008; so well that some parts of the garden didn’t need mulching in 2009. Unfortunately, wood chips break down over time, and the benefits of weed suppression is lost. 2015 definitely suffered for a lack of mulch.
So you see the deeds we do, the lessons we learn and teach, are not ingrained permanently into either the garden or the mind. A checklist can certainly serve a purpose, but we cannot wave away our responsibilities to God because of a mental checklist that we imagine.
Some tasks are done over and over and over again to be effective. Some teaching may also be done this decade, even though it had been dealt with in a former generation. Rooting out false doctrine will never be a task that’s done once and for all. We dare not be careless in tending the church and teaching one another.
“Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind” (2 Peter 1:12 – 15, NASB).