Philippians 4:2 – 3 “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
Have you ever noticed how quickly a little thing can become a big thing, if we let it? Any time we have more than one person, we will have differences of opinion. But as mature, godly people, we should be able to just smile, agree to disagree, and go on with the important work of ministry. But we don’t always do that, do we?
Things get said. Feelings get hurt. And before you know it, people are choosing up sides. What should have been just a minor difference soon becomes all-out war within the church! It happens all the time.
Did you notice that Paul didn’t mention the specific issue? The truth is, it probably wasn’t worth mentioning. If it had been important, Paul would have told us about it. Instead, he pleaded with these women to get along with each other.
I kind of feel sorry for Paul, don’t you? I mean, here he was, imprisoned, facing possible death, and he was having to deal with a couple of bickering women. I can also relate to Paul. My husband has been a pastor for nearly two decades. I have seen him run his fingers through his hair in frustration over the silliest, pettiest squabbles. I remember once he looked at me and said, “I feel like I am wasting my life in ministry, dealing with church members who can’t get along.” Most pastors have felt this aggravation many times.
So, why do these petty sparks of dissension grow into out-of-control blazes? Because we let them. The way to prevent such forest fires is to draw near to God, who will pour out His living water on our souls. As we draw closer to Him, His Holy Spirit will help us to tame our tongues, control our anger, and spill out His unconditional love onto those around us.
Paul begged these women to get along with each other, and he asked others in the church to help them. All too often, we contribute to the problem instead of the solution. We listen to gossip, and we even join in by taking up sides. We deliver unkind messages. Our body language announces our loyalty to one party or another. Rather than helping the blaze grow stronger, we need to douse the sparks of pettiness with God’s Word, with His love, with His actions and body language. Then, we can get on with the important work of ministry: bringing people to Christ, and growing more like Him.
Dear Father, Please forgive me for the times I have been petty. Help me to be a peacemaker, as I strive to show Your love to everyone around me.