Thursday, February 16, 2017

When the Circus Tent Isn’t Large Enough - Martin Wiles

And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. Philippians 4:2 NLT

“Sometimes the circus is larger than the tent.”

My wife and I were mingling with a few church friends at one of the local funeral homes when I heard the remark. Why the subject of people not getting along came up, I’m not sure, but the statement holds so much truth and is similar to a more well-known quote, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.”

As we talked, my wife contended that women are more likely to be contentious than men. Perhaps Paul would agree. He had two he could shove forward as examples. One gentleman disagreed. He worked with nothing but men and had several stories to tell about their contentiousness. Truthfully, the circus houses both. 

Like Paul, I once knew two women who were church members and couldn’t get along. Both were strong-willed and enjoyed being in control. While one was more humble than the other and normally gave in, the disagreements always created a strong undercurrent in their relationship and also had a ripple effect in the church. 

When the circus becomes larger than the tent, several things have been forgotten. Believers are unified in Christ. This doesn’t mean believers are clones, but we do have a common bond—our belief in Christ and in the work He has given us to do. 

Remembering I share this bond with other believers should make me work harder to put aside what divides me from them and look harder at what attaches me to them. 

Just because believers share a common faith doesn’t mean we share the same personalities. Obviously, Eudoia and Syntyche didn’t. Neither did the two ladies I worked with. I’ve discovered, though, that I can disagree without being contentious. There is always common ground if I look hard enough. 

The faith journey I’m on isn’t all about me. It’s about my faithfulness to God and His Kingdom’s work. My responsibility is to promote Christ—not me or my selfish ideas. My testimony—and the testimony of God’s church, is at stake. And if the disagreement is such that I honestly can’t see a way to solve it, I can always find another church rather than ruin the reputation of the one I’m attending. 

How far are you willing to go to make the circus smaller than the tent?

Prayer: Father, help us love each other in a bond of unity so our testimony before others will shine brightly. 

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