There's a joke about Sherlock Holmes and Watson where they go camping. After a nice campfire, conversation, and a glass of wine, they retreat for the night.
Part way into their night of sleep, Holmes wakes up Watson. In his customary way, he asks Watson to observe and make some deductions.
"Watson, look up into the sky. What do you deduce from what you see?"
Watson replied, "I see millions of stars."
"What does that tell you?"
Watson pondered for a minute.
"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow."
"What does it tell you, Holmes?"
Holmes response lets Watson and us know that, as usual, he missed the most important thing. I'll share it with you this weekend. (Don't Google it or you'll ruin the punch line for me when I deliver it!)
Why am I telling this joke as part of my sermon?
Because I love it!
Well, not really. I'm telling it because missing the most important thing or the main thing is easy to do. We tend to miss the main thing when we focus entirely on the details.
This week's sermon (in our Gospel Project series) is about the tabernacle, as we look at Exodus 25:1-9, 39:32-34, and 40:34-38.
This whole section in Exodus is considered one of the most mind-numbing in the Bible. Detail after detail is offered for what goes into building the tabernacle. But the details are amazing when you look more deeply into them. One scholar notes how the details all come from God himself so it's unlikely any detail is unimportant.
But we're not going to look at many of the details this weekend.
What Watson observes is right, but he misses the main thing. And you can be right about the details of the tabernacle and get it all wrong if you miss the main thing.
We're going to look at the main thing. And the main thing is often missed. And, I believe, missing the main thing about the tabernacle is directly tied to the number one way we sabotage our spiritual growth and our relationship with God.
Don't miss the weekend. Invite someone who needs to know God or who needs find a community of fellow believers.