I once traveled with a group of men from my church to help a new congregation build their first permanent building. Our construction crew was a powder keg of conflicting opinions on issues that ranged from women in ministry to denominational affiliation. I had considered packing my referee’s whistle in my toolbox. But when we arrived at the construction site and experienced the joyful vision of this new congregation, the potential conflicts faded into the background. Our team worked seven days in full accord to build the church (v. 2).
Unity, being of the same mind, is not a clonelike conformity of opinion on all matters of life and faith. Unity comes from being connected by a purpose that transcends differences. A shared purpose brings hearts and hands together to build Christ’s Kingdom.
My yard doesn’t qualify as “waterfront property,” but after hard rains, the accumulated runoff from several houses up the hill flows across my backyard. When I return home and see that stream, I know we received a downpour. If the stream doesn’t appear, I know we only received a drizzle. Paul reminds us that the gifts we receive from Christ are meant to be shared. As individuals, we may celebrate those spiritual gifts that create a vital inner life. But our lives are connected. So the purpose of our gifts is incomplete if they do not enliven the larger body of Christ. Like Paul, our joy becomes complete when our hearts unite with others to become a mighty stream of ministry.
Describe a time when you joined others in an effort to serve Christ. How did this shared purpose transcend your differences and free you to accomplish something great together?
God, let the love and grace that you send upon my life flow into your church and your world so I might unite with others to form a mighty stream of your kingdom’s work. Amen.