I was a bird this week. A secretarybird, to be exact. For those unfamiliar with these beautiful creatures, they are large birds of prey that are commonly seen in the African Serengeti. These birds have a super-power of being able to kill snakes with their bare feet, only to then eat them whole.
My church put on a dinner theatre production called “Mystery on the Serengeti”. It was the story of a Thompson’s Gazelle, or a Tommie, searching for his significance. All of the characters were animals who share space together. As we know, in nature, not all animals get along with each other. Some are predators, some are prey. In the play, there was a period of time when there was a “truce” of sorts implemented among the animals in order to come together to fight the common enemy instead of each other. The enemy was man…but a specific subset of man who intentionally and recklessly set out to take things that were for their own selfish gain – skins, tusks, horns, tails, etc.
The cast of actors had so much fun working together and channeling our inner animal. But the natural animosity between species of animals lent lots of fodder for the thought of how satan, God’s enemy, seeks to divide humans. Like animals, we sometimes become susceptible to infighting and preying upon others who are different than us. Whether the differences manifest themselves in our socioeconomic level, our intelligence, our appearance, our cultural origins, our political views or our spiritual beliefs, they can cause us to attack one another mercilessly.
In the Garden of Eden, God’s creation was new and without any imperfection. Animals and man coexisted peacefully…until satan entered the scene tempting humans with the notion that God, who had provided everything in perfection, was somehow withholding something wonderful from them. That is the gold ring, right? That we might be missing out? He then encouraged them to go take the one thing that he suggested God had withheld – the forbidden fruit that would give them discernment on the same level as God. They bit. Literally. Sin entered the world because Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s one “don’t”. Disunity began. Between us and God. Between man and beast. Between man and man. The unity that had reigned under God was gone.
It seems that disunity continues to perpetuate, despite man’s desperate desire for there to be unity, and for everyone to feel significant. In political cycles, family situations, even college football, friends stop speaking to friends over differences. It seems like the days of respectfully disagreeing with one another are gone. This is not from God!
We are exhorted in Ephesians 4:2-6: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
For those who don’t know Jesus, this may not make sense, but to those of us who do, it should zap a reminder through our core: JESUS is LORD, and if we are all striving to love and live like He did, we will all be headed in the same direction. We will respect each other as His creation. We will value each other as He values us. We will keep our mouth closed when opening it will bring strife. We will encourage each other on this path because it is hard to live in our broken world, full of sin and sinners – us included!
It is helpful to remember that satan began trying to separate us from God in the Garden. He is no less active now. But He won’t win! “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor 15:57.
Jesus is coming again to gather His people, and He will rule with righteousness, justice and unity.
- “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11:6
- “a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Rev 7:9
In striving to be like Jesus, we can make a difference politically, socially, and relationally by remembering we are all fighting a common enemy. Satan’s goal is to divide. Let’s band together against him, so that He doesn’t take our unity with God and each other.