February 2, 2021
Every Effort

Dr. Oliver Wagner
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience and love, make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit…one God who is above all and through all and in all.” 
Ephesians 4:2-4
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.
O God, you are above all and in all and through all for all. We dedicate our lives to the truth that we are one in the spirit and one in you. Fill us with love and maintain our unity in you. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com