Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Philippians 2:1-2 (NASB)

Although I never wish disaster or crisis on anyone, something interesting, even refreshing happens when disaster strikes. All of the sudden race, gender, denominational affiliation and social standing don’t matter. People pitch in to clear trees, search for victims, provide food and supplies where necessary and sometimes just offer a shoulder for encouragement.

I’ve never once heard a news report where an angry homeowner said something like, “Why are all these people strolling through my yard with chainsaws and such to clear my property after that tornado hit? I don’t want them providing food and helping me clean up this mess after my home was destroyed!”

Never seen an interview where an earthquake victim stands in front of his house warning people to stay away while he searches the rubble for his wife and kids; or heard of a family demanding an apology from the fire department for saving their home; or heard an angry patient wake up from surgery demanding an explanation for why the surgeon worked so diligently to save his life.

Crisis tends to bring out the best in us. There are exceptions of course, but deep within each of us there seems to be some sort of trigger that says “When disaster strikes we come together.” A unity develops over a common cause and after that task is complete we all go our separate ways, waiting for the next opportunity to help where needed to save a life or provide for some physical or emotional need.

The Apostle Paul seems to have had a special relationship with the church he planted inPhilippi. He writes, “I thank my God every time I think about you!” The Philippians had been Paul’s partners in ministry from the very beginning and now they were worried about reports that he was in prison.

In the midst of Paul’s own personal crisis these dear friends wanted to help. Interestingly, Paul sends message to them not to be discouraged, but to rejoice in what God was doing in him and through him. Then he says “If you really want to make my happy; if you really want me to feel like this is all worth it; if you really want to show others what following Christ is all about, here’s what I want you to do. Be unified in your minds. Set your hearts towards one purpose. Don’t let divisions keep you from showing others what the gospel is all about.”

What would our world look like if we as believers in Jesus Christ handled every day as though it were a disaster? How would we treat those who are ‘different than us’ if we approached life with an attitude of urgency to rescue them from calamity?

If we truly had a sense of urgency about us would it matter what sexual orientation our neighbor had? Would it really make a difference which version of the Bible we read, or what kind of music we played in our churches? Would the sign on the front of our churches and the ‘denominational distinctives keep us from snatching people from the jaws of hell?

It’s not the stand we take that will win others to Jesus; it’s kneeling down to lift up those in distress. Seek to reach out to those who are in their own personal disaster and crisis. With one purpose bring them into the safety of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Show them grace by your actions.

PRAYER: Lord it’s so easy at times to forget that our main purpose on earth isn’t to be right, but to show others your love. Help me to see the crisis’ those around me are going through. Empower me by your spirit to show grace to those in need. Amen.

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