“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Have you ever felt stale? You know, like that loaf of bread you have in your cupboard that has hardened around the edges. Or maybe like those crackers that just don’t snap like they used to when you bite into them. I find it easy to become stale, especially when I take classes. As I sit in class and frantically scribble notes, suddenly the clock’s ticking fades to silence and the professor’s voice drones on like a distant airplane. The pen in my hand stops writing and I begin looking outside. I don’t know what causes me to snap out of this momentary trance, but when I check the clock again time has all but disappeared. These little mental vacations that initially lasted 5 minutes have stretched 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes.

I’ll ask you again, do you ever feel stale? Maybe it is at work while sitting at your desk. The phone rings continually, a coworker is standing at the entrance to your cubicle telling you something, and the work has piled up on your desk like miniature skyscrapers. Maybe it happens when you are driving. The rest of the world seems to fade away and by the time you come to your senses, you don’t know what happened to the last 20 minutes. Maybe it happens at church. Ouch, that one hit close to home, huh?

This reality hit me all to hard. I was sitting in church a few weeks ago and as the pastor began preaching his sermon I slowly began zoning out. When I snapped out of it, I was three-quarters of the way through the Lord’s Prayer.

Why? In class I justify my mental vacations with excuses such as “I didn’t sleep much last night” or “This is my third class in a row today.” But, how can I justify taking mental vacations in church? Is the message of the Gospel stale? Has it become commonplace in your life? Do you feel like you are unplugged when you sit in church or Bible class?

Paul’s message to Timothy is anything but stale. The message of the Gospel is not mysteriously different. Paul is passionate in explaining who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. The statement “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst” Paul revealed to us that even though he was a persecutor, murderer, and hypocrite, Christ came to save him. Paul’s message is real, it is heartfelt, and it applies to us as well. Despite our often stale attitudes, Jesus still came to save us. We are shown mercy as Christ grants us eternal life. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that Paul so passionately describes, be an encouragement for us Jesus came into the world to save sinners, to save us! May the grace of our Lord Jesus replace the staleness in our lives!