Big Idea: The gospel teaches us to worship together.
Recently, we were cleaning out my parents’ barn and found my kindergarten report card. Counting, recognizing letter sounds, matching shapes, and identifying colors were all apparently on the menu. If you looked under “Gross Motor” you would see the one skill I left kindergarten without was “skipping.” Maybe I should have been held back because to this day it is not a pretty sight.
One thing I cannot find in the curriculum is the lesson on selfishness. Yet, I have mastered it. Apparently, the kind of self-centeredness that the Romans dealt with has not only survived but is so entangled in the human heart that it emerges unbidden in all of us. That selfishness causes division, where we want to push others aside and only care about what affects us. But the gospel says something different. Those who are strong have an obligation to carry the weaknesses of the weak, not just to please ourselves. We have to serve each other.
As always, Paul brings this moral commandment back to the biblical example. Jesus took our pain as His own and accepted us even though we were sinners. If we can have peace with God, shouldn’t we have peace with each other?
But the unity we experience as Christians is not some kind of superficial alignment, where different pieces are taped together. We are not coming together for the sake of being together, holding hands and humming. Our unity is not a crowd in a Walmart, but a choir, where God brings us together to glorify Him. The gospel teaches us how we can stop going our own way and can come together to sing one song of praise to Jesus. When we bicker and fight, we rob God of praise. When we accept one another because Christ has accepted us, we bring Him glory.
Discussion Idea: How does seeing a self-centered attitude as robbing God of praise give it new significance?
Prayer Focus: Join in Paul’s prayer for endurance, encouragement, and harmony to bring praise to God.