A man was riding next to the driver of a western stagecoach. Being skilled in the use of a whip, the driver began to demonstrate his ability. Pointing to a twig lying on the road, he said, “See that twig? Watch it.” He cracked the whip, and broke the twig in two. A butterfly flew ahead of the coach. “See that butterfly? Watch it.” He snapped the whip, turning the insect into powder. After a moment, he said, “See that hornet on the harness? Watch it!” He snapped the whip, and the hornet disappeared. The passenger was quite impressed, and said, “See that gray thing hanging from yonder tree? I’ll bet you can’t hit that!” The driver carefully looked, and answered, “I certainly could, but I won’t. That is a hornets’ nest.” “But,”protested the passenger, “You had no trouble with the other hornet.” “I know,” replied the driver. “I can handle an individual, but those boys are organized!”
After Israel received Moses’ word from God for them in Exodus 19:8, we read, “Then all the people answered together, and said, ‘All the Lord has spoken we will do.’” They answered together as one man, nemine contradecente – without dissent. They agreed together to the covenant proposed. James Stewart wrote, “One of the most striking features of the first disciple groups was the diversity of character it contained. It was an amazing synthesis of humanly irreconcilable elements. Isaiah’s vision of the wolf and the lamb dwelling together was surely near fulfillment when Simon the zealot, the fiery nationalist, went arm in arm with Matthew, the tax gatherer and publican! Only one thing could explain that strange union; they had each found Jesus.”
There are New Testament passages where the background of the Greek games is evident. In Philippians 1:27, “striving together,” and Philippians 4:3, “labored with” are from a Greek word used for athletes competing together against their opposition. In Romans 15:30, “strive together” speaks of the same truth. The root of the word comes into English in the word “agony.” This is a plea for unity among the saints, and the agonizing effort in contending against evil, instead of the use of their energy in contention with each other.
In the time of their great religious wars, when Holland stood out so nobly against Spain, one of their mottos was: “Unity gives strength.”
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey , Florida 34654