What does the average Ohio State Fan and Boy Scouts have in common? At first glance it doesn’t seem like much. One wears a distinct uniform while the other looks put together like the American Army during the Revolution. However, as I was walking through the Denver airport today I encountered both of these “Tribes”.
There was a group of about 30+ Boy Scouts that walked past and I couldn’t help but notice the comraderie that they had with one another. Sure they didn’t look the “Cool” part (I used to be a boy scout so I feel I can say that!) but it was very unique to see the unity they shared not just with one another but with boy scouts around the world. It’s a brotherhood united in the pursuit of knowledge, achievement and fellowship.
Then about 10 minutes later I come across an OSU fan as I’m walking to get food. Nothing would have tipped me off that he was a Buckeye fan considering he wasn’t wearing anything that made such a statement. However, I had my Buckeye hat on and that’s all it took to have a connection with some random stranger. All he said to me in passing, as he looked at me, was a loud…..O-H. To which, I replied the correct response, …….I-O! In that instant I was able to experience Unity with a complete stranger all because we shared a common bond, a unique unity, a shared experience that is called OSU Football. (Of course with that we share in the shame of our current issues!)
Now what am I trying to get at? Simple! Unity is the lifeblood of achievement. It’s the motor of progress. It’s the horse that pulls the wagon full of dreams. It’s what leads us to accomplishing more then we ever could on our own!
After my encounter today I started thinking about how this applies to the church and to Christians! Most of time, I proudly carry the distinction of being a follower of Jesus. But many times I’ve been torn apart, discouraged, frustrated and to be quite honest ashamed at the lack of unity that comes from carrying this identity.
I think for a majority of churchgoers we started off going to church because we were seeking for something. We needed help, we need love, mercy, grace, healing….you name it! But after awhile we begin to think that church is there for me and me alone. We craved unity when we first sought Jesus, but then we get comfortable and it becomes about me, me, me! And with that, disappears much of the unity that the world seeks.
So, people find it in being a Buckeye. They find it in being a boy scout. They find it anything that unites them with other people who they can share life, experiences, sorrows, pains and joys together.
The church started off as a beautiful place where people were united! They did life together, they shared, they laughed, they graciously disgreed, they got outside themselves and realized that life wasn’t all about them.
It’s time for us, who call ourselves followers of Jesus to take a long look and learn lessons from the Buckeye Faithful and Boy Scouts!