I was reading a story about some friends of Jesus who were arguing – yes, Christians do at times disagree with one another! The argument was about which of them was the greatest and Jesus gently taught his friends a very valuable lesson by putting a little child in front of them. They needed to stop thinking about their own importance and remember that they were all following him because they shared a common purpose and belief. That was a call to humble service of others rather than to empire building!
When local rivals were relegated at the end of last season, some fans were delighted, but the sad reality is that in their gloating they lost sight of the bigger picture. Economists reckoned that the region would be something like £100 million poorer because of the loss of status of some of the local clubs.
It can be very easy in all sorts of situations for people to find themselves losing sight of what is in the best interests of all. Sometimes in families and other settings it can seem as if some are interested only in point scoring at the expense of others. Sometimes within churches and between different churches the vast number of things they have in common and agree upon can be masked by the few areas of disagreement. Sometimes within communities different groups may be active yet not pull together.
At such times a phrase I became familiar with some years ago comes to mind “The Common Good”. And whether we are talking about the community in which we live or whatever sort of group we may belong to, the importance of partnership over self interest can never be emphasised enough. We are encouraged to work and pray for the good of the community in which we live, to act in the interests of all in trying to make the world we belong to a better place.
With much love,
Your Minister and friend,