The Life Journal readings for today are Jeremiah 50, Jeremiah 51, and 3 John 1.
Scripture: 3 John 1:9-10 (The Message)
"Earlier I wrote something along this line to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves being in charge, denigrates my counsel. If I come, you can be sure I'll hold him to account for spreading vicious rumors about us. As if that weren't bad enough, he not only refuses hospitality to traveling Christians but tries to stop others from welcoming them. Worse yet, instead of inviting them in, he throws them out."
3 John is a letter written to the leadership of one of the early churches about their hospitality to fellow Christians, and about one member's lack of hospitality. As if that weren't bad enough, it is also an indication that, even then, there were power plays within the church.
So, no one is perfect. I get that. I know I'm certainly not.
So, folks like to be in charge. I get that, too. Every time I stand in front of our Celebrate Recovery group, that is how I introduce myself. "Hey, my name is Jamie, and I'm a recovering control freak."
However, when a group of people come together with a shared vision and mission, and when there is someone within that body who is obviously not on board with that mission...what do you do?
My human nature says, "Throw the bum out. If you don't like where this bus is going, get on a different bus." But something in me won't let me do that.
I would like to be able to say that this was an isolated incident, and that it's no longer an issue in the Church. But the reality is the Church will always have to deal with folks like Diotrephes. There will always be one or two, or even a group, who just can't grab the shared vision and will be a source of friction and tension within the body.
While it can frustrating as a leader in the church, I really don't mind dealing with folks like Diotrephes. To me, that is more incentive to do a better job casting the vision. Those folks keep me on task, and keep me focused. Ideally, everyone would be on the same page, but I'm not going to sweat the times when we're not.
God of us all, teach us to love in those moments when we are not all of one mind. Cast the vision you have for your church before us, show us our role in making that happen, then remind us that at the end of the day, we are all working toward the same ultimate goal. Be in our thinking, our hearing, and our speaking, so that even in those moments of disagreement, your kingdom can break through. Amen.