Like-Minded Brothers and Sisters

Sam Rainer

February 22, 2007

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.

4 comments on “Like-Minded Brothers and Sisters”

  1. forthekingdom says:

    If there is a theme that is much-discussed among Christian bloggers it is the theme of Christian unity. Where do we build bridges and where do we keep our distance? I am not a Southern Baptist, but I so much appreciate Thom Rainer’s stand on the issue (I think I read that he is your father), and I so much appreciate your heart. I would encourage your readers to read the article on Wade Burleson’s blog: on the February 21 entry. You Rainers keep up the good work. Some of us non-denominationalists had lost hope for the Southern Baptist Convention, but we are beginning to see that God may not be done there yet.

  2. kdb1411 says:

    Thanks Sam. If only we who serve in local churches will ask what we can do for God through the church instead of what the church can do for us, the health of local congregations would improve immediately. Personal agendas can be so destructive, but sacrificial service can be so unifying.

  3. Sam Rainer says:

    forthekingdom, Thom Rainer is my father. And I stand proudly with him.

  4. I agree with you totally that the world needs a unified Christian front. John 17:20-23 says, My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one. Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. 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. I have been blessed to join a crusade that enables me to fulfill God’s pray. I encourage every Christian to visit and see vision and join us.

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