NOT THEM !!!

October 29, 2021

It is utterly AMAZING to me the number of groups and people who are "supposed" to be on the same team, or at least in the same league, and are so adamantly opposed to working together.  It is mind boggling.

I get it - no one is going to agree on EVERYTHING. 

I spent a number of years in the United States Marine Corps.  This is a group known the world over for their esprit de corps. The Marines are a band of brothers.  And let me tell you, there are LOTS of areas that Marines IN and OUT of the Corps disagree upon.  We have differences of opinion on just about EVERYTHING.  Well, everything except the mission, our commitment to uphold our honor and fulfil our assigned mission.  "DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR" is a credo of the US Marines.

Every Marine understands that they are FIRST and FOREMOST a rifleman.  No matter what else his or her "job" may be, their FIRST JOB is to be able to shoot, and to shoot well.  A Marine  may work in human resources or the motor pool; we don't care.  Black, white, yellow, brown or purple -- doesn't matter. Desk jockey or front line Recon Raider - it simply MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.  You'd better be able to qualify with your rifle.  It is a basic skill we insist upon.  And if you can't, your days of active duty are over.

Well, lately I've had multiple groups names and organizations pop up on my radar.  These are groups with the SAME MISSION.

That is where today's verse gets plugged in:
ACCEPT EACH OTHER JUST AS CHRIST ACCEPTED YOU, SO THAT GOD WILL BE GIVEN GLORY

Afghanistan is under siege, and there are a large number of task forces, coalitions, ministries, media personalities and others --  ALL of them stating that their primary mission is to get Afghans safely out of the reach of the Taliban and relocated to safety.  But I've found that cooperation and information sharing can be a bit hard to come by in some instances.  There are some folk who are mission focused, some who seem to be media focused, and some who seem to be money focused.  The latter two groups don't play well in the sandbox.

You know who I've found DOES work well together?  It's those who've got special forces training.  THEY understand the mission.  By and large they run their operations in a manner that demonstrates their understanding  that lives are at stake.  Lives that -- once lost -- can never be recovered.  They run their missions with an understanding of the potential cost of not reaching those at risk.

I've been in some church settings recently where for all intents and purposes we have FORGOTTEN what the mission is.  It is far too easy to get caught up in our specific roles and duties, and to overlook the fact that there are some incredible similarities between the Marine Corps approach and what the Church's approach OUGHT to be.

Every Christian needs to understand that they are FIRST and FOREMOST a witness for Christ.  No matter what else his or her "job" may be, the Christian's FIRST JOB is to live out a contagious faith in Christ, and to live it well.  To live it so well, in fact, that it opens doors to speak about Christ and His offer of salvation.  A Christian may work in human resources or the motor pool - we ought not to care.  Black, white, yellow, brown or purple -- ought npt matter.  Desk jockey or front line preacher - we simply SHOULD NOT CARE.  If your life isn't compelling people to ask what's different about you - something is amiss.  It is a basic skill the scriptures insist upon.  And if you can't, you're not really on active duty.

A highly significant aspect of living that life of love is HOW WE COOPERATE.

Our instruction from scripture is simple and straight forward --
ACCEPT EACH OTHER JUST AS CHRIST ACCEPTED YOU, SO THAT GOD WILL BE GIVEN GLORY

This concept -- unity based upon Jesus Christ -- is essential. Unity based upon WHO He calls us to be, and HOW He calls us to relate. Unity based upon the historic creeds of the Church, and not upon our particular preferences.

A discussion of THAT KIND of unity is well beyond the scope of a short devotional.  It's enough to fill a book.  (Actually, it did! **)

In several places throughout the gospels, we are told THAT Jesus prayed.  We are told when He prayed, we are told for whom He prayed.  In John 17 we get our only insight into a detailed example of WHAT He prayed -- and He prayed that we would be one.

When we do not accept each other as Christ Jesus accepted us -- we deny God the glory He deserves from an obedient people.

Let's be MISSION FOCUSED.  It is time to report for duty.

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