SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
(Eph 4:3) endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We see in the selection of His followers that Jesus chose men with a vast array of backgrounds and personalities. And I don’t think it was just for diversity sake. I believe the Lord put these twelve disciples together to not only become apostles but also to learn how to love one another and to appreciate each other.
When you look at the list of disciples in Mark 3:13-19 you see just how different these men were from one another. Think of impetuous Peter. How about doubting Thomas? Consider those sons of thunder, James and John. These were personality differences. Then look at the variations of backgrounds. You have Matthew the tax collector and also Simon the Canaanite (also called the Zealot in Luke 6:15). One was a former employee of the Roman empire and the other was a Roman rebel. Some were blue collar and some were white collar. With this vast array of personalities and backgrounds there must have been occasion for differences. And we do see that the disciples did argue who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Luke 9:46). Jesus had to put them in line and teach them to love and serve one another.
After Jesus chose His twelve He taught on the importance of standing on a united front to defeat the enemy. (Mark 3:24-25) If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Paul would go on to teach about unity in the church. (Eph 4:2-5) with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
People might rub you the wrong way and you can become resentful. You can get an attitude with that person and also seek to avoid them. But wise is the person that sees this as a positive challenge and then asks personal, pertinent questions. “What is it about this person that rubs me the wrong way?” “What is God trying to change in me?” “I must learn to appreciate this person for who they are and how God has created them.”
The other day when I was out of town I saw a person who has always rubbed me the wrong way. I have to admit when I saw him I pursed my lips and sought to act like I didn’t see him. But God weighed on my heart the necessity to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I asked God for strength and went over to him and greeted him cordially and asked concerning his welfare. We chatted a bit and when I walked away I must confess that I experienced the warmest feeling inside. No wonder the scripture says: (Psa 133:1) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!