In only a few days, college football will be upon us. That can only mean one thing: the continued indoctrination of my 18 month old son to root for the Gators and to boo everyone else. As a University of Florida alum, I’m pretty sure not having him “chomp” in an orange and blue jersey would be dereliction of my parental duty. In college football, division is the name of the game. In the church, not so much.
Before I continue, let me preface this by saying that I am not writing about a known issue at Mercy Hill. Rather, I am merely writing to address an issue that lingers in every human heart, that is, sinful comparison. Like many things in life, comparison can function properly, but because of sin, it doesn’t. For example: a properly functioning comparative system will see God as greater than everything else and out of such a comparison our priorities will flow correctly. Yet, sin sadly corrupts our comparative function frequently and leads us to covetousness and pride. So what follows is not a reactive scold but rather a proactive warning for us to guard against this corruption.
As we approach the launch of the Clifton Road campus, I pray that we can all cheer on the awesome movement of God that we are witnessing at Mercy Hill Church. Whether you will be attending the Regional campus or the Clifton Road campus, it’s important to remember that as one church we are all on the same team.
In less than two weeks, we will be one body meeting in two locations. The same Mercy Hill Church DNA will serve as the blueprint for both of our campuses. Will there be physical differences between both campuses? Obviously. But physically different is not necessarily better or worse, it’s just different. Knowing this, we should be on guard against sinful comparisons to ensure that physical differences do not become a source of division.
Gospel = Unity in our Diversity, not Division within Our Unity.
The apostle Paul encouraged the church at Philippi to devote themselves to Gospel-centered unity regardless of his own physical location when he wrote:
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel…” (Phil 1:27 ESV).
From this we know that unity in the body of Christ was crucial. It was imperative to stand firm against the emergence and spread of envy and rivalry that comes from division. What was true then is also true now.
As one church, let’s keep the Gospel call to unity in mind as we move into this exciting new era of our church’s short, but amazing, history. This movement of God that we are witnessing is not about the location. It’s never been about the location. It’s always been about the Gospel and it will always be about the Gospel.
-Joy Rivers (Mercy Hill Covenant Member)