4.15.2020 Thriving in Togetherness
The Word from the Listening Post this morning: Thriving in Togetherness
I think all of us have had a sweet and sometimes bittersweet experience in the Togetherness mode we have been living these past weeks. Many of us do not have spouses to live with—but here is where family & friends come in. We may not be able to love on each other physically these days, but thank God for phones, texts, emails so we can keep in touch and speak those endearing words of concern, comfort and love. As yesterday’s message said: There is tremendous power in our words!
Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say on this subject:
Togetherness can be defined as a feeling of satisfaction in being united with other people for a specific purpose. Simply being in close physical proximity with a crowd of people does not create that feeling of togetherness. A spirit of unity that results when minds are in agreement creates togetherness. Togetherness has some practical benefits over being alone, and this is true in many situations: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12). Togetherness is one of the most important themes in the New Testament. In Jesus’ longest recorded prayer, He prayed that His followers would “be one as you and I, Father, are one” (John 17:21). The apostle Paul pleaded with the churches in many of his epistles to “preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Colossians 3:12–14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” The opposite of togetherness is dissension and strife, which the Bible strongly condemns (1 Corinthians 3:3; Matthew 12:25; Romans 13:13). Divisions within the body of Christ halt God’s work through us and turn our focus inward rather than outward toward others. Christ’s church consists of all believers; we have been baptized into His body and gifted in various ways to benefit that body (1 Corinthians 12:7–11, 13). When we work together, rather than each one seeking his or her own agenda, we accomplish more for God’s kingdom. Togetherness in spirit, with Christ as our Head, is God’s ideal for His family.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
1 Thess 5:11 Encourage one another & build one another up, just as you are doing.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
1 Peter 3:8 Have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, & a humble mind.
John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Proverbs 27:9 The sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
Ephesians 4:22: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
1 John 4:12 If we love one another, God abides in us & his love is perfected in us.
1 John 3:16-18 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Please join me in prayer: Abba Father, Thank you for loving us and giving us spouses, family, friends, neighbors & the congregation to keep us in a circle of caring. Help us to pray for one another—blessing each other, praying for needs, and not just think of ourselves. Remind us to make that phone call so others can hear a voice that loves them, showing concern. Texts and emails are good too, but the spoken word is much better. Give us words to speak which bless others today, and speak of positive things! Give us courage to ask if they have needs which we could fulfill, and let us ask if they need prayers for healing! We ask this, trusting that you hear us and will grant these requests because they are according to your Word and will! We love you, help us to love others in action today!
In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.