When I became of Christian in 2009, one of the first words that the Lord revealed to me when reading the Bible was “Unity”. Early in my faith I was confused as to what that meant in the western culture of religion. I noticed all the different denominations and the different ideas about what being a Christian was all about. It really saddened me and it convicted me to try and make a difference in bringing people together.
One of the ideas that was placed on my heart was to search for an organization or church that would have a community of people that donated items and those items would be distributed to people in need. For example, let’s say I had a dresser that I no longer wanted. Instead of selling it at a rummage sale, I would give it to the organization. That organization would have a way of listing their donations and reaching out to the community to see who needed a dresser. Basically, they would be working as a conduit between people willing to give and people in need. Beautiful concept, right? Well, as I called different places and asked questions, I found out that a local church had done something like this, but the program fell apart. I even considered trying to start something like this in my own church and it never gained any legs. Now I am not sure if this kind of idea is going on currently in the area or not, but I sure like the idea of a Christian community joining together to help in an area that we are called to help.
One cool event that took place for a few years was called Convoy of Hope. Several churches and lay people came together to serve the local community in a wonderful way. A one day event that served thousands of people in need by giving out food, diapers, family portraits, haircuts, and an assortment of other needed services. Great idea. Yet, it no longer exists.
As a community of believer’s, we have this power that the Lord has given us, yet we don’t seem to utilize it……at least not together. Sure, there are pockets of people doing wonderful things. There are even local churches doing great things in the community. However, together, we don’t seem to play very well.
This brings me to my current day situation and the reason for writing this. What does Unity—unity as Christians look like today? Sadly, it seems that it is the same as 2009 or arguably worse. As I continue the journey the Lord has placed me in as Area Director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Northeast WI, I am meeting all kinds of people. Pastors, parents, coaches, athletes, administrators, etc. It has been a lot of fun and connections are being made that would never happen without this position. However, it has given me a greater insight into unity. I must confess it confuses me. I am not sure what the Lord is trying to teach me in the midst of it all.
I see so much division. I see a lack of cooperation between people who call themselves Christians. I encounter so many people who have their own concept of what being a follower of Jesus Christ is. To be honest, it is maddening. It’s hard to keep up with all the knit-picking idiosyncrasies that people have. Do we not serve the same God?
When I think about what God thinks about all of this, I get the mental image that He is up in heaven shaking His head. Saying, “The don’t get it.” “My children simply don’t understand the example that my Son gave.” Matthew 20:28 tells us, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus, our Savior, the founder and and perfecter of our faith, was the great example for us. Are we not to looking to Him and desiring to follow His example? Have we completely discarded the Word of God to have this infighting between so called Brothers and Sisters? Have we become just like the people in Judges where in Judges 17:6 it says, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Have we become “those” people?
I am beginning to think that God had put the word “Unity” on my heart back in 2009 and now in 2017, he has chiseled and molded me to be an agent of change in our community and begin to talk about what Biblical unity really means. It isn’t about being a Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Episcopalian, Assembly of God, Church of Christ, or whatever denomination you are or whether you consider yourself Protestant, Evangelical, Reformed or whatever other label we give to our form of Christianity, the bottom line is simple….do you believe in Jesus? The born again, life changing, power of Jesus Christ in your life through the work of the Holy Spirit? If you believe in Jesus, then you are part of a community that should believe in Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children.” As believers, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Why don’t we start acting like it?
Posted on Sat, September 16, 2017
by Jeffrey Middlestead