Today’s scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
We see the results when people fail to cooperate at the political level; stagnation, battles, hard feelings, and anger abound. But as disciples of Jesus, we are called to cooperate in ministry and life and this goes beyond denominations, beyond our own prideful desires to place the kingdom in front of all we do. If it’s good for the kingdom of God, it’s good for us. To put it another way, when we cooperate and the kingdom wins, we win even if we have given up something for the other.
The absence of cooperation is perhaps most visible at the federal level in congress where our parties are so divided there is little cooperation or compromise. But it also exists between churches and denominations. Competition for members and giving, disputes over relatively minor theological differences (where Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are not at odds), have often split churches and kept us from meeting the needs of our communities and working toward better living conditions, eliminating food scarcity, and inferior schools because we have allowed those differences to hinder our cooperation. This is not what God designed for us. We need to focus our discipleship in ways that enable cooperation in areas like Habitat for Humanity, UMOM, and food banks. We need to learn to set aside our pride and ownership in favor of the kingdom.