BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front

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Did you know that my voicemail box cuts you off after a 3-minute long message? I learned this because I’ve had several people call and leave messages longer than 3 minutes, which meant that they needed to call back to pick their message back up.

Have you ever gotten a phone call or email that just seems to drag on? Maybe a coworker is working on a project and wanted to get your thoughts on something. But their email to you asking for your ‘thoughts’ is 7 paragraphs and includes all kinds of background information that isn’t really relevant to the project itself? Or someone leaves a voicemail that rambles on and on and on.

Whenever that happens to me, I just want to ask the person to get to the point. If that’s you, and you’re a little impatient, Mark’s Gospel in the Bible is for you. 

When people read the Gospels, there is a lot of information that is being thrown their way, whether they realize it or not. Matthew’s Gospel begins with a genealogy, which if we’re honest, we all skip over. Luke’s story begins with angels and shepherds. Johns Gospel goes WAY back “to the beginning”. All of these are pieces of information that can be helpful, but often left me asking “what’s the point?”

Not Mark’s Gospel. Mark’s Gospel gets to the point. Just a few sentences in and Jesus is already preaching and telling us why He’s here: ‘Repent, the Kingdom of God is near!’

There is no time spared for the listener and reader in Mark’s Gospel. Most stories give you some background, give you the lay of the land before they get into the heart of the story.

“Once, in a far away kingdom, there was a princess who was under a spell by her evil uncle. Only love’s first kiss could set her free.”

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”

These are pieces of exposition, a tool people use to help the audience understand their setting.

But Mark’s Gospel barely has any of that. A man named John is preaching, then Jesus shows up. From there, Jesus runs around like a mad man, healing, preaching, feeding, and teaching.

In the military, there is a concept called ‘BLUF’, which stand for ‘Bottom Line Up Front’. It means that you tell me what I need to know or you’re asking for first, then fill in the details later. You tell me what is most important before you say anything else, then you explain why it’s important.

“Repent! The Kingdom of God is near!”

Mark’s Gospel is for people who want the BLUF.

Let me know your thoughts down below.

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