Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unity is Tough, Individualism is Rough

As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew in numbers. ~ Acts 16:4-5
Most of us have, at one time or another, struggled with receiving direction from others. But look at the results mentioned in the above scripture.

The pull to resist unity leads to a rough existence not only for the individual resisting direction but also for those who are forced to choose which individual is "right." Stress and negativity build up in the leader resisting direction; the effectiveness of that leader is damaged beyond the specific circumstance; and the good intended by all is weakened.

In Matthew 12:7, Jesus warns the Pharisees with a quote from Hosea 6:6: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Jesus is referring to the Pharisees insistence on individuals following the law according to their interpretation. They didn't like this new guy in town changing the way they did things.

Just as God desires mercy over sacrifice, I believe He also desires unity over individual success. That relieves us of relying on our own understanding of God's will.

Assuming the direction given by others is Biblically based, which would you rather do, be united with others or stand out for individual success?
May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. ~ John 17:23

Don't get me wrong. There are times God calls individuals to stand apart. But that is a rough road. To succeed in his kingdom, God will not leave you alone. Elijah felt alone but God revealed otherwise. (See 1 Kings 17-19) Notice that when he felt alone, he got alone until he received clear direction from God.

For more of my thoughts on working as a team, read Team Development Part 2 - Your Spot in the Big Picture.

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the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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