Bringing People Together
Early in our marriage, my wife and I had the opportunity to assist in the formation of a young couples’ Sunday school class. It was an important time in our spiritual development. For me, it was the time when I began to see the Bible as being relevant in everyday life.
One of the greatest lessons I learned from our experiences with the class was God’s ability to bring together people who were completely different. There were two men in the class who were as different as night and day. One man played in a rock band. He had shoulder length hair and all the other trimming that would make him fit perfectly into the counter culture of the sixties. He played in his band until the earlier hours of Sunday morning, but he still stayed awake long enough to come to the class. The other man’s hair was a short flattop. From his appearance, it was clear he was not a part of the counter culture. He looked more like he was home on leave from the military. In the beginning, you could feel the tension in the room, when they entered.
It was amazing during the months that followed to see how God worked in the lives of these two men. Through class discussion the hearts of these individuals began to show. When all the exterior things we use to define people were removed, it became clear that both knew the Lord Jesus and wanted to serve Him. Their paths of service might differ but their intent was the same. While they did not become compatible in areas such as politics, they did become the best of friends.
If these two men had not sat down together in this class, they would not have taken the time to listen to each others heart. Instead, they would have looked across the church with their preconceived notions and would have missed an opportunity for friendship.
This is a lesson that is desperately needed in the church today. Too many congregations are divided by age, worship preference, organization styles, etc. Likewise, denominations are too willing to cast stones at their brothers and sisters from differing denominations. We all would do well to listen to the Apostle Paul, who wrote, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26, 27 NASB) If we will heed Paul’s words, we might get beyond our stereotypes and we might find meaningful friendships in the most unlikely places.