Main vs Side
By Anthony Casperson
If you play many RPG video games, you know there’s quite a bit of difference between the main quest and the side quests that you can accomplish. The main quest is what the majority of the story is about and helps to progress the game. While the side quests are optional storylines that give you additional experience points and can help make the main quest easier.
Depending on the game, the side quests range anywhere from simple fetch quests (“Go get me 10 wolf pelts” e.g.) to personal quests for party members (“Help me with this and I can get my head in the game a little better”) to nearly essential quests that make the final battle sooooo much easier (“Help these people and they’ll join you when you face the big bad guy).
When I play these types of games, I want to get the most experience points possible and make the main storyline as easy to complete as it can be. I’ll do every single quest. You want me to go fetch 15 special leaves? Sure, I’ll go do that. Every party member will think that I’m the best guy in the universe because I take the time to help them. Sure, the world might be on the brink of eternal darkness, but my friend here has daddy issues and I need them to be 100% before we take care of that bad guy.
Sometimes, though, the game has so many side quests that you forget exactly where you were in the main quest. The whole reason why your character is adventuring around the world gets lost as you try to take care of everyone else’s problems. Yes, those people are important, but helping that one person find a lost ring will mean nothing if the Big Bad succeeds in their plan.
The main story (usually) sits on pause while you gallivant around playing knight-errant. The bad guy sits, content to wait for you to get back around to thwarting their nefarious plans. And when you deem the main story once again to be worth your attention, then the plague raging the land will continue spreading.
But that’s not how real life works. And it’s certainly not the way that life as a follower of Jesus happens. We followers of Jesus are called to give glory to God, to love God and love others. That is our main quest. Everything else is a side quest.
The job that pays our bills, the serving that we do with our local church, the recreational activities that we do, they are all parts of our life that are not our main calling by God. Yes, these are good things to do. Yes, they help us complete the main calling in our lives, but they are not to get in the way of our main calling.
These side quests in our lives, even the good ones, can get in the way of worshiping God as he deserves. And when this happens, those good things, through which we strive to serve God, become distractions from that worship, causing us to cease properly worshiping God. We then begin to view our main quest as one more thing that has to get done, rather than the one thing we have been meant to do all along.
An example: recently I’ve been dealing with health issues as well as many things going wrong at work. My mind had been centered on those things so much that I had lost focus on the main quest of bringing God glory.
Oh, I sang praise songs, I wrote/preached/edited sermons, I wrote blogs, I fellowshipped with fellow followers of Jesus, but they were all done while distracted. They were all done with a feeling of necessity rather than flowing out of a life that sought only to bring God glory.
And I pray that God still uses my miserable attempts to bring him glory regardless of my inconsistency. But God’s consistency of working in our weaknesses doesn’t give me an excuse to lose focus like this. It doesn’t give any of us reason to.
It’s easy to lose focus, to let the side quests make us forget the main quest. But that means that we need to be all the more vigilant in our focused pursuit of the bringing God glory. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 that we could speak forth God’s word, come to understand the mysteries of God, and even have superpowered faith, but if we don’t have love, then those things are meaningless.
The love of God that leads us to bring him glory, the love from God that allows us to love others, without it, all of our side quests are meaningless. They are nothing but attempts to earn more experience points for some reason that we can’t remember.
So, let’s not forget why we followers of Jesus are here on this earth. Let’s focus on the main quest of our lives and let the side quests flow out from that.