Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Unity

Living in Unity
A devotional by Carrie Del Pizzo

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” Psalm 133 (NIV)

This Psalm sounds really nice to our American ears. I’ve heard oil was important two thousand years ago half way around the world. And I know it’s important to be nice to people. So, yes, I agree that this passage of Scripture is good.

Sometimes that’s how I approach God’s Word. I like it and it makes sense to me; therefore, I declare it good. (In case you were wondering, God does not need my approval.) But do I really understand what these verses are saying? Let’s look at the oil first.

In centuries past, olive oil had so many more uses beyond tasting great on pasta and bread. It was used as fuel for lamps, lubricant and moisturizer for the hair and skin, medication, and blessing in religious ceremonies.

Olive trees don’t start bearing olives and oil until they are five or six years old, and they don’t hit their real production stride until they are forty or fifty years old. The great news is that, on average, olive trees live about 500 years. So, in ancient times, having mature, fruit-bearing olive trees was a sign of wealth and guaranteed stability.

So how is living in unity compared to such a valuable commodity?

We all know people who worship differently than we do. I’m not talking about cults who go off the rails and leave God behind. I’m talking about people who genuinely love and worship the great big God of the whole wide universe, but they do it more loudly or more quietly than I do. People who dance in the aisles and people who sit on the hard pew. People who shout their praises to the sky and people who wash the floor with their tearful prayers.

We also know people who do some pretty dreadful things while wearing God’s name tag. Noisy groups have protested the funerals of a fallen soldiers. Famous ministers have had illicit affairs. And people with fish stickers on their bumpers have cut off other drivers. These are the things that make the rest of us look pretty bad.

Instead of criticizing each other for worshipping differently, or tearing down those whose sin is public, what if we all worked together to support each other, build each other up, and represent God’s love to a hurting world? I think that’s the pleasant oil and the dew of God’s blessing.

Today, I’m choosing to pray for the other churches in my city. The ones I don’t attend, but whose congregations love Jesus as much as I do. What about you? How can you choose to live in unity with God’s people today?

Author Bio:
In this world of texts, memes, and emojis, slowing down to truly communicate can feel like straining a muscle you haven’t exercised in far too long.

Seventeen years of business experience across a variety of industries has taught Carrie Del Pizzo the fine art of professional communications. Partnering with corporate executives and entry-level employees alike, she has written and edited major project proposals, direct marketing pieces, sensitive client communications, employee handbooks, and user manuals.

Carrie’s love of literature and story has led her to develop and exercise her fiction writing skills as well. Aside from her personal creative efforts, she also edits for self- and traditionally-published authors and enjoys writing short dramas for church presentation.

Carrie is a wife, mom of three Americans and host-mom to numerous exchange students. Italian-by-marriage means she loves to cook and eat. She lives in Spokane, WA, with her hilarious family, who keeps her in stitches and provides piles of material for great stories.

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