I have had such a truly fantastic morning after a rather stressful yesterday.
Let us not mention the fact that I woke up at 4:57 this morning and was instantly wiiiiiiide awake. Nor will we discuss the fact that I didn’t get to bed until two… no, we shan’t discuss either of those (unimportant) points.
We can, however, discuss my morning. You see, I am lucky enough to live right across from the yummiest breakfast spot in town. The Plaid Apron is by far one of the most excellent eateries in Knoxville, and they also happen to have the best grits I have ever had. This morning, I woke up with such a hankering for their grits and Cinnamon Hazelnut coffee that I couldn’t stand it… so at 7:44 this morning, I put on a pair of moccasins, grabbed my Bible, and rolled (okay, walked) over to TPA for a nice big bowl of grits and some coffee.
It was the best decision I could have made. THE best. A little over an hour later, I looked up (having read the entire book of Romans, Jonah, and Zechariah), realized that I had finished my third cup of coffee, and came back home.
Isn’t it funny how God speaks to you when you most need to hear it? Lately, community has been heavy on my heart… and suddenly, I stumbled upon this passage.
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”
— Romans 14:5-8
Does this make sense to you? No? Well, that’s quite alright. Let me explain!
Lately, there has been disunity amongst my different communities. The way I see it, we are all part of one distinct body — but though the right hand is working towards the same goal as the left foot, there isn’t recognition of this common goal. That is to say, the hand doesn’t know what the foot is trying to do and the foot doesn’t know what the hand is trying to do… there’s a lack of understanding.
I am as guilty as anyone of not taking time to fully understand people. I jump to conclusions, make suppositions, ignore tell-tale signs saying, “Megan, slow down,” and don’t leave room for explanation. My cognizance of this problem has led to many efforts to fix it in myself… but when it extends to entire communities? Therein lies a problem of more epic proportions.
I belong to several different circles. I oftentimes consider myself a “fringe”-person for many of these groups: a member, but not full-fledged. I work to bridge the gap between them, act as a connection to the greater body. Now, I don’t always do this well, and I’m certainly not the only one (not by a long shot), but I do feel that I hold this place amongst several different communities.
That is why it breaks my heart to see disunity.
We are all working towards the same goal… to love one another and honor the Lord. Sometimes the means with which we strive towards this goal are different. Sometimes the ways we show love are different. Sometimes the ways we worship are different — and that is okay. That is more than okay. That is what being part of the greater body is all about.
So when I see one set of people not taking time to understand the actions of another group of people (or vice-versa), it hurts me. You see, there is too much at stake here to waste our time with petty differences. There are too many people out there who just need to be loved, pursued, encouraged — too, too many for us to bicker amongst ourselves.
I am so unbelievably blessed by my many different communities — beyond expression. They are the rocks which keep me standing firm, and I would crumble without them. Yet, I still think that there is work to be done — and I am just as guilty as the next. Time to make a change.
I place before you this final thought: Romans 14:8 says, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” Is it worth it to be upset about the small things? Or would that energy be better spent reaching out and loving? What is this really all about?
We have a greater calling than this. We have a job to do. Let’s get to it!