Keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3
Dewberry Baptist Church split in the 1800s over a chicken leg. Various versions of the story exist, but the account told by a current member was that two men fought over the last drumstick at a church potluck. One man said God wanted him to have it. The other replied God didn’t care, and he really wanted it. The men became so furious that one moved a couple kilometers down the road and started Dewberry Baptist Church #2. Thankfully, the churches have settled their differences, and everyone concedes the reason for their split was ridiculous.
Jesus agrees. The night before His death Jesus prayed for His followers. May they “be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” May they “be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me” (John 17:21–23).
Paul agrees. He urges us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3–4), and these cannot be divided.
We who weep for Christ’s body broken for our sin must not tear apart His body, the church, with our anger, gossip, and cliques. Better to let ourselves be wronged than be guilty of the scandal of church division. Give the other guy the chicken leg—and some pie too!
What have you done to contribute to the unity of your church? What else might you do?
Heavenly Father, help me do the best I can to be at peace with others. May I never separate what You’ve joined.
From the humbling confinement of a Roman prison, Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers in Jesus on behalf of a Father, Son, and Spirit who’d begun to change his own heart and theirs (1:1–14; 2:1–10). In anticipation of a day in which all creation would be united under Christ (1:10), he painted word pictures of what it means to grow together into a mature body and sacred temple far bigger and better than ourselves (4:1–32). He described how much better everyday relationships can look when transformed by the crucified and resurrected Christ (5:1–6:9). Then, after having reminded them of their shared body, Spirit, Lord, faith, baptism, God, and Father (4:4–6), he urges them to resist a common enemy who wanted nothing more than to conquer and divide them (6:10–20).