“Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death.” Joshua 1:18
Several years ago, I served in a church that led an Upward Flag Football league. One Saturday, I was watching a bunch of kids playing a game of flag-football before their age-graded games began. Now to fully appreciate this scene, you have to grasp some of the players. There are fourth and fifth grade boys who have played football for years. There are also 5 year olds who can barely catch a cold much less a football. Despite this wide, wide range of talent and physical maturity, these kids were having an absolute blast. As a football fan, one of the funniest things about this scene was the fact that most of the kids weren’t really sure what team they were on, much less where they were supposed to be or what they were supposed to do. The game was completely disorganized but absolutely hilarious.
I wonder if we do not do the exact same thing in church. We tend to go off in our own directions and do our own things sometimes to the point of leading others to wonder if we are even playing the same game that they are. Of course, we preface our personal wanderings by saying that God is leading us to do this or that. The problem with that logic is that if God is leading the church to something, will He not reveal it to more than one person? Won’t God lead the Body of Christ in one direction rather than some type of schizophrenic here, there, and everywhere?
So often today we take unity in the church as a punchline of a joke or of some fond memory of a by-gone time. The truth is that the Israelites were about to enter God’s promised land; they took unity as a life or death matter. While I am certainly not advocating putting anyone to death, I do wonder what the church might look like if we placed the same importance on unity that the Israelites did at this time.