Unity is a wonderful thing. We all need it, we all want it; even if it's just down to agreeing with ourselves, things go smoother when we get on with ourselves, and people 'get-on'. Marriages work as they should, business runs smoothly, trams accomplish their goals and communities make real progress.
Well, we all know it's not that easy. It's not easy now, and it wasn't for the early church in Corinth. In a mirror image of what we see in our culture today, the cult of celebrity had invaded the church; some followed Paul, some followed Apollos, some Peter, and some, well, they were really spiritual ones who just 'followed Christ' (1 Corinthians 1:11-12).
Paul's response is profound yet simple – Christ isn't divided (1 Cor. 1:13) - so neither should we be. When we keep our eyes on who we can agree on, Jesus, the goal and purpose of our mission, rather than on what we can't agree on (often stuff that doesn't really matter), we have a real chance of sticking together.
When we have a healthy view of our leaders, recognising that although they are Godly and gifted women and men, they are still broken, fallen humans who make dumb calls every now and again, and in need of our grace and forgiveness, we'll have a better chance of sticking together.
And when we keep our focus on the mission – in our church to follow Jesus, to love broken people, or to make disciples, as opposed to focussing on the side-issues, we have a better chance of sticking together.
Let's be a church that loves together, sticks together, and grows together. It's not easy, it's going to take work. But Jesus is so worth it. He promises blessing to the church who that gets-on. Let's do this.
Questions for application
- What am I currently finding hard to deal with in my local church? Is it worth being offended over? Or is it just a preference?
- Who am I really worshipping? Is it Jesus, or is it a style of worship, a celebrity preacher or the latest ministry? Be honest with yourself. How might I want to change to make me more focussed on Jesus?