Last night, our daughter asked us to go outside and play a "friendly" game of Four Square. Maybe you remember this game: each person stands in one of four squares and the goal is to hit the ball in someone's square, causing them to go out (or rotate to the last square). Well, it didn't take long to find that this calm game that was being played for fun turned into an all-out competition, and even reached the point of someone getting hurt. I inadvertently hit the ball where my opponent (I mean daughter) couldn't return the hit, and then she had to run down the hill to get the ball before it rolled away. While running after the ball, she fell and hurt her shoulder. I won the point, but that wasn't the point...
Ken Sande says that "whenever two or three of us gather together, there is conflict waiting to happen". This happens in Four Square, it happens in everyday life, and it certainly happens within the Church. Apostle Paul talked about this in Ephesians 4, where he wrote these words:
"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Whenever we gather together with others, we should be listening to Paul's wisdom. In just these 3 verses, he uses key words that should help us know how to act towards others when we around others. Look at some of the words he uses: be completely humble, be gentle, be patient, bear with one another (and don't be bears towards each other - I added that), do this in love, and here's the big conclusion - make every effort to keep unity. Maybe if we did that more often, more people would want to play the game with us (or follow Jesus).
When we do all we can to get along with people who name the Name of Jesus, I think that says a lot to the world that is intrigued and is wondering who Jesus is. I get excited when I see Christians doing just that! This Saturday, we will be gathering with brothers and sisters from Freedom Church here on our property, where two churches (or is it one Church?) will work together to help our community from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. Be praying that our community sees that and wants to more about who Jesus is because of how we follow Him. It doesn't always matter if we win or if they win; sometimes it's better to just do what you can to make the other side look good (especially when the other side wants to look like God wants them to).
So, here are a few things to pray about this week:
Ask God to bring people here so we can show them what it looks like when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity
Ask God to show you what areas of your life need improvement (are you living "worthy of the calling you've received"?)
Ask God to use you to show Him to others by how you treat others