Historically, I haven’t always functioned well in a group context. As a kid and all the way through school, I loathed group projects. I always felt like the work was unevenly distributed and I was definitely that kid who would go to the teacher and call out the students who refused to contribute. Now, I realize that it wasn’t that big of a deal, but I was very bothered by their slacking at the time.
Did you ever decide on a direction you were going to go (whether in school or adult life) but not everyone was on board? It’s so difficult to get something done when a member of the group decides to be a contrarian. And it’s impossible to be successful in accomplishing a goal if a person in the mix has a different vision they’re moving toward.
“And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.” Nehemiah 8:1 (ESV)
This is such a cool verse!
I love how the people are described here: they were gathered as one man. We all have different dreams and goals, visions and ideas, thoughts and emotions. Each of us is unique and distinct, just like the people in Nehemiah 8, and yet they were able to come together with a collective purpose and intent—how incredible is that!
This past weekend, I spent some time with Unlocked Ministries at their yearly retreat. The team included people of different ages, backgrounds, interests, and socio-economic levels. Everyone had different strengths and weaknesses and no two personalities in the room were exactly alike. It was a wonderful and diverse group to be around. And yet, though some of them saw the world so differently, they were all united around the vision of the ministry and were leveraging their unique skills to push that vision forward. Being with this team was a breath of fresh air in a world that is marked by fear, stress, and division.
Honestly, there are many times when I struggle to go with what everyone else is doing. There’s a part of my personality that sees what everyone else is doing and desires to go a different way. It’s quite the quirk, but is something that I’m working on. While I so long to be in a position where I can be fully united around a vision with a group of like-minded people, I tend to drift from it over time.
This is why I so appreciate when churches have regular vision-casting services. These messages help me keep the pulse on the body that I’m plugged into so I can see if that lines up with my personal convictions. These are invitations for me to evaluate where I am to see if I’ve drifted from the vision or if I’m strategically moving toward a new vision for the next season.
So this weekend coupled with this impactful verse is causing me to question if there’s anywhere that I am not in one accord when I should be. Am I fully in line with the Word of God right now and in one accord with him? Am I united behind the vision of God at the church he has me planted in? Am I pushing forward the agenda of the various ministries and organizations I’m involved in or am I pushing my own?
This one verse has given me so much to ponder and I hope it’s done the same for you. Let’s spend some time today examining our hearts and motivations, offering anything inappropriate to God to heal and restore.
Are you currently out of alignment anywhere?
Do you have any motivations lurking under the surface that you need to bring to God?
To go Deeper: Read Problem of the Heart, Ministry of Reconciliation