Romans 12:16a Live in harmony with one another. (ESV)
It was late in the month of February. This is the time in Florida when the snowbirds, both the feathered and human ones, are starting their preparations for returning to their northern homes.
As I was standing on the dock behind our house, to my left I heard a great racket. Such loud squawking and honking couldn’t help but get my attention. Looking in the direction of the noise, I saw a flock of birds. They were flying in a perfect “V” formation. The squawking and honking came from birds back in the formation. It appeared they were telling the leader at the point in the “V” they didn’t like his leadership. They were saying, “Honk, go slower;” “Squawk, turn left;” “Honk, go higher;” Squawk, turn right;” “Honk, go lower;” Squawk, go faster;” and it went on and on.
I turned my attention to the point bird, which suddenly dropped down out of the “V.” I kept my eye on him as the rest of the formation realized they had lost their leadership. What followed was chaos. Birds were flying in every direction; some were going up and others were going down; some were going in circles and some were just flapping their wings and going nowhere. With one action by the leader, the perfect “V” formation had disappeared to be replaced by birds with no cohesion. The flock had lost its focus and was truly a leaderless group.
My attention was still on the bird that had been in the point. He was just circling very casually below the chaos. Then I noticed that first one and then two birds located him and flew down to be with him. Then several more came down and the noise started to die down as one by one the whole flock reformed behind their leader. Once they were all in position, the leader headed across the lagoon at the point of a perfect and quiet “V”. The birds had renewed their confidence in the leader and were once more able to move forward.
We humans are no different than these birds. That is why Paul had to tell us in Romans 12 to live in harmony.
Churches are often like these birds with the Pastor being at the point of the “V”. When the birds all wanted to go their own way or make the total flock go their way, there was chaos. They went nowhere. It was only when they all were quiet and realized their goal wasn’t to do what they individually wanted, but to remember that their goal was to prepare for the long flight north. Then they were able to again do what birds are supposed to do. There was no way this flock would be able to fly north unless they were all flying together with the same goal.
When a church loses sight of its purpose to worship the Lord and making disciples as Jesus has commissioned it, the church becomes like the chaotic flock that isn’t going anywhere. It is often the lack of harmony that causes this disruption in our commission. Pray that we may always live as Paul has written; in harmony with one another.