Like-Minded Brothers and Sisters
I am currently involved in one of the most insincere processes in our society. Going through this process I have learned that people first look out for their own interests as opposed to others. I have also learned that the world is full of very stubborn and irrational people – myself included. I am trying to sell my townhouse.
I spent a few years in the corporate world before being called to full-time ministry. It was there that I learned that “you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” I worked in the energy commodities trading world and saw firsthand how sharks eat – they gobble as much as possible and don’t leave anything for anyone else. Such is the game. Little fish get eaten; big fish get bigger. ‘Negotiate’ is synonymous with ‘feeding frenzy’.
In selling my home, I have tabulated exactly how much equity I need in my current home to get the size house that I want for a new home. And I put on my thick skin when it comes to negotiating. The realtors want to buy and sell their homes, not another realtor’s homes. The seller wants the highest price possible. The buyer is aiming low in this down market. Nobody has the same interest. Nobody has the same skin in the game.
In Philippians 2, Paul tells us that we must be “like-minded” in order to truly care about each others’ interests. And that we should not seek our own interests, but rather those of Jesus Christ. The church is certainly not a place for elbowing in your own agenda so that your ideas are at the forefront. The church is not a place for negotiating your requests at the expense of someone else. We are to be like-minded brothers and sisters.
Epaphroditus was willing to sacrifice his life for Paul. He was a “brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier” for the sake of the gospel. Our churches need brothers and sisters who are willing to take up their crosses. Our churches need pastors who will humble themselves for the sake of unity, even if it means a little less limelight.
The problem is the water people are swimming in is luke-warm. Their spiritual lives are full of mushy ambiguity. The Center for Missional Research reports that only 15% of those who regularly attend a Christian church rank their relationship with God as the top priority in their lives. Only 21% of adults claim that their lives are holy, and many of them also claim they have no idea what is meant by true holiness. Luke-warm water is the prime temperature for church feeding frenzies.
Without the right focus in life, one cannot help but to become insincere. Without Christ as the foundation, people begin to fight for their own interests. Churches begin to negotiate over the silliest things. Arrogance becomes the dominant trait of church leaders.
The world needs a unified Christian front. This “crooked and perverted generation” needs “shining stars” reflecting Christ. Are you up for building bridges at the cost of your own personal interests? Or are you still negotiating your agendas on the church? Because apart from Christ none of us will get what we negotiate, we will get what we deserve.