Posted by: everynation | July 11, 2008

Stand Up – With Unity

by Frank Christie

Life is a battle field! To win life’s battles we cannot live in isolation, we need to learn how to live in community.

One of the most spectacular events in Africa each year is the wildebeest (gnu) migration which takes place on the Serengeti game reserve. It has been described by many as one of the greatest natural events in the wildlife world. It is also the time when the lion have a feeding frenzy. They identify the young and the weak and while the wildebeest are lazing about in the sparse shade on the plain the lions come for their easy pickings. If the wildebeest would just STAND UP as a community the lions would flee. There is strength in living in community.

Living in community can be looked at in the light of two interpretations. The Latin term communitas means “the same”, and is derived from communis, which means “common, public, shared by all or many”. This is what was used to describe the early church in the book of Acts 2, “They had all things in common”. It can also be understood as being derived from two words: com meaning “with,” and “unity.”

The antithesis of community is individualism: that is pretty much all about self : “me”, “my needs”, “my dreams”, and self-preservation.

The term “narcissism” comes from the Greek god named Narcissus who was known for his beauty. Many fell in love with him, but he spurned all lovers, until one day he became thirsty and went to a pool of water where he clearly saw his own reflection. He fell deeply in love with himself and could not pull himself away from his reflection, even to eat, so that he ultimately died. His death was caused by total self-absorption. How many people’s dreams and achievements are never realised because of a complete preoccupation with themselves? When we worship ourselves, we become our own god and never experience community.

Have you noticed how we as a society are moving away from concern about family, community and what is good for society as a whole, to a culture that is narrowing its concern to what is good for us personally as individuals? There is a rise of radical individualism in our culture which is committed only to self. We often only approach God on these terms too! The prosperity movement has capitalised on this self-centered lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with prosperity as long as we are living for God and others. However, God is not our cosmic butler who is there to serve our dreams and aspirations and sometimes knuckle head ideas. He is almighty God who allows us to share in His plans and His Kingdom and prospers us as we serve Him and His people on earth.

There are five elements of a true sense of community: 1) membership, 2) influence, 3) integration and fulfilment of needs, 4) shared emotional connection, and 5) living for a purpose greater than ourselves. Opposed to these are the five elements of individualism: 1) Lone ranger, 2) no influence, 3) independence, 4) isolation and no connection, and 5) living for self.

Let’s stand up together, in unity!

Just think what kind of impact we could have on this world.

Jesus’ prayer for the church was that we might be ONE in the unity of love. He said, “My prayer is. . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. . . . May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me” (John 17:20-23)

Frank Christie is the senior pastor of Every Nation Somerset West, the founder of Thembalitsha and the author of Being Frank.

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Responses

  1. Brilliant!


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