Can you tell when a team lacks unity? When everyone isn’t on the same page, having the same goals, or overall mission? This is particularly pronounced in sports. Have you noticed the ball hog before- always taking shots and calling their own number, never passing to teammates? This is an individual who cares more about their own personal stats than the teams success. Usually, the other team is able to quickly adapt to this strategy and shut the ball hog down. Plus, there is a devastating impact on a team’s morale when one person stops involving others in the game. The others so often give up as they are never meaningfully incorporated in the game.
Conversely, when we see teams that are truly unified, it is a thing of beauty and these teams are almost unstoppable. A teams success is dependent upon the unity of the team. The quarterback throws precisely to the spot he is supposed to throw, and the receiver is right there waiting- just like the play was supposed to run. Players on the team are fighting for each other, not for themselves. These are the moments that make sports worth watching. I remember back in my days as a competitive swimmer- seeing my teammates give their everything to win races and to cheer teammates on. The electricity in the air was just incredible. You may think of swimming as an individual sport- but even there- there’s just something amazing about being part of a team that is unified. People encouraging one other. Pushing each other harder in workouts. Leading by example and believing in one another. Have you ever been a part of a team like this before? We can be! This is the way God’s Church is supposed to operate.
Jesus said in John 13 that the world will know we are his disciples by our love for one another. In John 17, Jesus prays for those who would believe the disciples message- that is you and me. Listen to the prayer of Jesus for us in 17:22. He prays to God the Father that “they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
And yet, when looking at the Church in America today, we are far from unified. Denominations breaking up. Taking sides against each other politically. Accusing one another. Not caring for each other like we should. Promoting our own self-interests. We’re a lot like a team of sled dogs if they all decided to pull different directions. It’s a mess!
And yet- that just makes us like the churches in Galatia that Paul was writing to. This message- which I call Unity in Community from Galatians 2:11-21- gives us a picture of why unity in the church is important, how to preserve it, and what basis we have for it. This is a critically important message for the Church today that we need to hear.
I hope you can join us this Sunday morning at 10:15 at Christ Community Church as we study God’s Word together. God Bless You, Have a great weekend! See you soon.
-Pastor Nathan Rice