Have you ever thought about how important unity is in your home, your marriage, your church, your office, your farm or ranch? In every aspect of our lives where more than one person is involved, unity is essential if we are to get along—but most important if we are to get anything significant accomplished.
This morning I was reminded of the time I saw the Blue Angels perform at an air show. Those little blue jets were fast and they all moved as if one pilot was flying them all. Their wings just inches apart, they performed amazing stunts and maneuvers that required exact precision—a degree of precision that required a lot of experience and practice, but also a degree of precision that required a very deep underlying foundation of unity among the pilots.
At an air show, you usually do not get to see the individual jets or pilots before they fly over in formation, but every one has to take off into the air by themselves, one at a time, and they each has to land the same way. Though they may fly as one, they are individual aircrafts with individual pilots.
All of those pilots are individuals, with different pasts, different backgrounds, different personalities, different minds and thought processes, different problems in their personal lives that they are dealing with, and different dreams for their futures. Even the jets used to accomplish the feats, though they look and are designed to fly the same, are each uniquely different and respond a little differently from all the others.
Yet, despite the differences in both man and machine, each pilot puts aside the differences that may divide or distract them. Instead, they focus on their individual and collective skills and experience that make it possible for them to work as one, in perfect unity as a team. Only then, can they safely and successfully accomplish something great, something that sets them apart from all other pilots, something much larger than what they could accomplish on their own as individuals. Only when they work together in ‘complete unity’ can they succeed in such amazing and breathtaking accomplishments that otherwise are impossible.
In John 17 Jesus spoke much about the necessity of ‘complete unity’ among all Christians—The Church. This entire chapter is a prayer that Jesus prayed to God the Father at the conclusion of what we most often refer to as the Last Supper or the Lord’s Supper.
To put this prayer in perspective, it took place just two or three hours before Jesus was to be arrested, tried, beaten, scourged, crucified, and die for the sins of all mankind. Jesus knew all that He was about to endure. He knew that it was absolutely necessary for Him to endure these things if we, our families, our friends, or anyone and everyone else in the world were to ever be set free from our sin and be reconciled to a Holy and loving God. The only way for our sin to be washed away, for our hearts and minds to be transformed, for us to escape death and eternity in hell, was for Jesus, (God in the flesh), to suffer, to shed His blood and give His life as the ‘perfect sacrifice’ for us. He died in our place taking our punishment upon Himself.
But that still does not explain why Jesus prayed for “complete unity” among all professing Christians. The purpose of the unity Jesus so earnestly prayed for is spelled out in verses 21 and especially in verse 23 where Jesus was praying for you, for me. and for all Christians: “Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You” (vs 21), “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.” (vs 23). This is the purpose for the unity that Jesus prayed for—that all the people of the world would know His love for them—a love so deep and so true that He would give His life to save theirs!
Now think about this, Jesus, just hours away from His suffering and the giving of His life prayed to the Father that all of us Christians would be brought to ‘complete unity’ not just so we could get along and love one another—but so that the world may know that Jesus came to die for them, in their place, so that they could have eternal life and know and experience God’s love for them. He knew that what He was about to endure was absolutely necessary if mankind was ever to be reconciled to God and escape the punishment of their sinfulness. It was the only way for any of us to inherit eternal life or to have hope and peace in the time we have on this earth. But, He also knew, that if everyone in the world was ever going to hear about what He had done, His people, The Church, had to work in complete unity, with the one purpose of making Him and His love known to every man, woman and child on earth.
This is your and my responsibility—it is THE ultimate role and mission of the Christian Church, regardless of denomination, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of location, regardless of size or wealth. Our focus, our efforts, our monies cannot stop, nor be depleted at the local level. We must, if we want to live in accordance with Jesus’ own prayers for our lives, make it our absolute priority to reach the world with the Gospel and love of Christ Jesus. There are so many worthy causes, so many good things we can give our time, our talents, our resources and our lives to, but none of them can compare to our responsibility or to the importance of sharing the Gospel and love of Christ Jesus with a lost, hurting, and dying world of people. None of these other causes have the eternal significance or provide the richness of life and the blessings that accompany living in the center of God’s will.
Just like the pilots of the Blue Angels, we are all individuals uniquely created by God. We are all different from one another in our gifts, our talents, our resources, our problems, our personalities, etc.,—but our mission of sharing Christ with the world is the same! For us to accomplish that mission, we first must surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as individuals. Then, we must put aside the differences that hinder our working together, and allow God to use us and whatever He has given us, to accomplish His purposes together. The results have eternal significance, give our lives meaning, and are much greater than anything we can accomplish on our own.
This is our mission at Cattle for Christ, to unite all Christians, especially those involved in agriculture, for the purpose of making Christ and His love known to the Nations in ways that are effective, efficient and accountable. Please contact us to see how you can help.