I recall a children's book that I used to read to my kids when they allowed me to lie down next to them in bed and read. They preferred that I read, but I like them to practice too, so we came up with ways to share the reading. If I were tired and tried to skip a few pages they typically knew the books so well and by heart that they’d protest, “wait, you turned too many pages.”
One book in particular that stands out even now talked about two kinds of creatures… one set of creatures were workers and they were always building, fixing, repairing and restoring. They didn’t get tired, they didn’t complain, they just took what was and tried to make it better. As I recall the author called them “doozers.” Doozers do. By contrast, another group of cartoon characters liked to break things. They destroyed and smashed and always left things worse than they found them, never seeming to care. I forgot what they were called, but the lesson (or caution) remains as a great teachable moment for us all.
In today’s verse, the tools for building up are named. In our tool box are spiritual gifts that bless, help, serve, unify and grow. We treat all with respect and dignity, valuing everyone. What a challenging verse! “Make every effort to maintain unity and peace.” If each of us did that, the church would be built up in size, unity, peace and impact. Focus your words and efforts to build up the “one body” which is the church. Let your gifts, your prayers and your desires be to use all you are and all you have NOT to tear down, divide or diminish BUT build up, unite and enhance. Be a doozer for God and do it with the tools of humility, gentleness, patience, love and great effort that the congregation and world might be blessed with God’s unity and peace.