The Gift of Unity
This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the 25 gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians.
Do you remember the TV show The Waltons? While there is no such thing as a perfect family, if there was ever an award for the perfect television family, John Boy and his ma and pa, Olivia and John, his grandparents and six brothers and sisters might have been the winners. The show was on during the 1970’s. Set during the depression in rural Virginia, the Walton’s lived life peaceably and with great resolve. They got along well and held virtue to its highest esteem. Remember the love that flowed as they ended each episode? “Goodnight Grandpa, Goodnight Mary Ellen, Goodnight Jim Bob,GoodnightPa, Goodnight Elizabeth, Goodnight John Boy.”
This is perhaps a picture you might see as Paul encourages the family of Christ at the beginning of Ephesians, Chapter 4.
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. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV)
This passage summaries the unity that God so longs we all share together as the body of Christ… regardless of where we go to church.
A pastor friend of mine used to say that there are certain things that are disputable within the Body of Christ, such as music, dress, how we raise our kids, movies, politics, that kind of thing. But there are certain things that are bedrock truths. And this is what Paul is saying here. This is the gift of unity. One body. One Spirit. One Hope. One Faith. One Baptism. One God, the Father. And right in the middle? One Lord. One. And his name is Jesus Christ! So… Paul is saying, “c’mon church. We can agree on this! Let’s lift up the name of Christ together… for his glory.”
Have you ever travelled someplace far away, whether on a mission trip, or just someplace away from home, and met another Christ-follower for the first time? There is a sweet common bond, isn’t there? A unity that we share together. And it’s deeper than what your alma mater is or the sports team you root for.
You have undoubtedly heard the joke that asks the question “what car did the disciples drive?” Acts 2:1 says that on the day of Pentecost, the disciples were all in one “Accord”? God bless Honda!
It’s an interesting picture to think of the whole church being crammed in one place, all going the same direction… In some ways that IS the picture of unity in the body of Christ.
Paul says in Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV):
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
May we be encouraged to embrace unity. And may we do so in a way worthy of Christ… being humble, gentle, patient and bearing with one another in love. May you receive, and give, this Gift of Unity this Advent.
Father God, I pray for all Believers around the world today. May we all be united in bringing the Gospel message to the lost and hurting, especially during this season. May Your peace come on earth, as it is in Heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2011. Rich Ronald