I had heard about the size, abundance and toxicity of Australian spiders. This was, in fact, the only thing that put any kind of a damper on my enthusiasm for visiting this fascinating continent.
would learn, however, that the stories were a bit larger than life.
During my 3 months stay on the continent, I didn't notice any particular
overabundance of the creatures. In fact, when I compare the spiders in
any home we stayed in while away to my own home, I believe I may have
just as many spiders of comparable sizes!
There was this one
spider event, however, that was, indeed, memorable. We were out hiking
along the coast of Victoria, Australia, just off the Great Ocean Road,
when we came upon a rather large cluster of spiders. It had been my
experience that most spider webs are individual affairs, spreading from
one inanimate object to another. Not so with this cluster. Each
individual web served to connect two or more others to form a huge
canopy of webs that was probably 3 m sq. (9 ft sq).
recently placed a great burden for my heart for unity in the church, and
this has been the theme of several recent Nugget articles. After all,
was this not a major theme of Jesus' final recorded prayer before going
to the cross (see
20-24)? With this in mind, I
had only one thought as I walked away from that canopy of webs: If only
the church would be so unified! If we would stop looking after our own
individual needs long enough, we might see that we can, indeed, hold
each other up, and the result would be a church that not only cares for
its own, but also reaches out to cover the world at large!
Recently, as I penned the devotional on unity that appeared in the
Nugget last week (Each
Tiny Leaf), it occurred to me that understanding the
power of unity isn't enough. What we really need to know is how to
achieve this unity.
The secret, I feel, lies in 1 Cor.
12:13: "For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one
body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the
one Spirit to drink." (NIV). We can only be unified when we are all
filled with God's Spirit. It is His Spirit that brings unity!
Have you received the gift of the Holy Spirit?
The answer is
'yes'! Even though not everyone has received the spiritual gifts
1 Cor. 12, all true followers
of Jesus Christ have been filled with His Spirit: "And if
anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do
not belong to Christ." (Rom 8:9 NIV;
it then, that we have not achieved unity?
I would suggest that it
is because we aren't all using the power we have been given to
attain unity. It's kind of like the barbeque unit on your deck.
It may be there, but if you don't use it, you'll never be able to
produce barbequed meat!
Here are a few suggestions I found for
achieving our potential for unity:
1. We must pray, like
Elisha of old, for more and more of God's Spirit, upon us, and also, on
our brothers and sisters in Christ (See
2 Kings 2:9).
2. We need to love each
other as Jesus loves us: "...he made himself nothing by taking the
very nature of a servant...he humbled himself by becoming obedient to
death--even death on a cross!" (Phil. 2:6-8 NIV; see also
We need to take lessons from that cluster of tiny spiders in Victoria
Australia...We must stop worrying only about ourselves and instead, we
need to start supporting our fellow brothers and sisters. (See
1 Thes. 5:11;
Heb. 10:24-25, etc.).
Most importantly, let's look to Jesus' example: "I have set
you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (John
13:15 NIV). He spent His time on Earth giving to others. He healed the
sick, fed the hungry, comforted the broken-hearted and brought hope to a
hopeless generation. He even took the role of the servant and washed His
disciples' feet (See
John 13:5-17); and perhaps
the most vivid portrayal of His love and selflessness is the cross
Interestingly, when I stood under that canopy of webs, I didn't even get
squeamish. How could I have been afraid when they had so much to teach
us about unity in the church?
Prayer: Father God, may we
utilize that power for unity that you have already
given each believer. May we follow Jesus' example and humble ourselves,
putting aside our own ambitions, our apathy, our complacency, so that we
may love one another as Jesus loves us, that we may support each other
in every way. May we desire unity as
much as You do! In the precious name of Jesus, Amen!
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.