“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent Me and have loved them even as you have loved Me.”
-Jesus (John 17:20 – 23)
/>At my last class reunion, tongue-in-cheek awards were given for various “accomplishments” since our graduation. Always competitive, I was happy to win a shirt with the logo from the board game, “Operation.” It seems that I had more surgeries than anyone else in my senior class! And to think that my teachers may have called me a “cut-up”! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
Those of us who have been “under the knife” know that a certain amount of anxiety is to be expected when going under anesthesia for an operation. Thankfully, all of my surgeries have been successful due in part to the excellent surgeons God provided.
But what if you found out your doctors had a brawl while you were under surgery? That’s just what happened at the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts. Dr. Mohan Korgaonkar was the surgeon, and Dr. Kwok Wei Chan was assisting the anesthesiologist.
While the elderly patient was asleep on the operating table and the surgery was in progress, Dr. Chan muttered a profanity in the surgeon’s direction. Almost without thinking, Dr. Korgaonkar flicked a cotton-tipped prep stick at the anesthesiologist!
Dr. Chan retaliated. First came shoving. Then shouting. Then an all-out brawl between the two learned men of medicine. Fists flying and surgical goals forgotten, the doctors escalated into a wrestling, punching, jabbing, name-calling bout on the operating room floor. And our patient? She slept through it all.
Finally the two men tired a bit, regained their composure, got up and finished the operation, only marginally worse for the wear. Not long after each was fined $10,000 by the state Board of Registration in Medicine, and ordered to submit to joint psychotherapy for their aggressive tendencies.
This was truly outrageous behavior by two men who had forgotten their calling, and their purpose. Their petty, selfish, immature behavior could have cost the patient her life or caused serious injury or infection to result. The $10,000 fine seems small in comparison to their lack of concern for a patient who put her trust in them.
This story immediately reminded me of the behavior of some church members that I have seen over the years. Clearly forgetting their calling, purpose, and the great mercy God has shown them.
Only God knows how many of His people are fighting over their personal agendas while the world is daily dying and going to Hell. Much like God’s people in the Scripture, all-too-often today’s church suffers from those who murmur, gossip, slander, complain, argue, manipulate, and apply passive-aggressive strategies to get their way.
Not once in more than 33 years of ministry have I seen strife in a church caused by false doctrine. At no time have I seen believers up in arms over the Gospel not being preached or funds stolen from the church. Not once.
But oh, the joy when God’s people humbly join together to glorify Christ and reach those for whom He died (Ps.133:1)! I have never seen a better example of a unified church offering themselves as living sacrifices than I did during the Judgment House ministry of Ridgeland Baptist Church.
In these weeks, God’s people were one in purpose and passion. As a result, many saw and heard a clear presentation of the Gospel that Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who alone can save us from our sins.
As a pastor, I want to express my deep love and appreciation to those of you who faithfully and joyfully serve, support, give, sing, witness, encourage, and worship in unity at your local church so that our Savior gets the glory He deserves. God is using you in ways too profound for words. Your pastor would say along with Paul, “You are my joy (Phil. 4:1)!” I praise God for you!
God blesses unity for His glory and the salvation of souls. Christ died for this, the church exists for this, and you may be certain, we will be held accountable for this.