Nathan Dye • October 05, 2021
Today I had checked off some of the things on my work list and had a free moment to check off one of the items on my to-do list at the house. My wife had asked me to touch up some paint in several places a few months back, and shamefully I was just now going to get it accomplished. Seeing a window of opportunity, I went into the garage and gathered the paint and needed supplies. After coming back into the house and sorting everything, I noticed something about the paintbrush. The last time it had been used it wasn’t fully washed out. Being disappointed in the condition of my brush I began the process of trying to loosen the bristles so that the brush could be used. As I started bending the bristles the Holy Spirit spoke to me about this brush. He said, “this brush is a lot like the church, when the people are unified, they can’t be easily moved by Satan and his principalities”. Wow, I love when the Spirit speaks like that. As I began working my fingers through the bristles dividing them into smaller sections, they were easier to break loose. The Spirit moved again saying, “divisions come when people allow anything else to outweigh what my Word says. Then they are no longer a solid unit but are easily broken apart and separated.” Wow, amazing stuff again! I continued working on the brush and once it was useful, I grabbed the paint and went to get started.
As I took the brush to dip it into the paint, the Spirit showed up once again and said, “notice how each bristle is an individual character but together in unison they complete exactly what they are supposed to. When my church is pliable and is willing to move in whatever direction I lead it, then it can be used to fulfill my purpose.” Straight fire from the Spirit! As I painted and talked with God it kept coming back to me how beautiful it was to just watch all its bristles in unison being used to fulfill its purpose in my hand.
When Paul was writing to the church in Corinth there was a lot of divisions in the church he had to deal with. When you examine it, they were all divisions over preferences. A preference is simply an opinion on a secondary issue that is not central to the gospel of Christ. In Corinth, it was marriage, food, spiritual gifts, women, rich and poor relations, and cliques. While some of those things might sound trivial to us now, we have preference issues too. In our modern times, some of the biggest debates we see are focused on worship styles, preaching styles, clothing, church decor, and service types and times. Paul says to those in Corinth, “Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction” (1 Co 1:10). Paul doesn’t expect them to see eye to eye on everything, but he wants them to as much as they possibly can. Here’s the deal, everyone has personal opinions on ancillary issues, but what everyone must preserve is that those opinions do not affect your relationship with other Christians and the church. As Paul said, “don’t argue about disputed matters” (Rom 14:1), but “decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in the way of your brother or sister” (Ro 14:13). We should always remember these things are secondary, and only the fundamentals of the faith should be held as non-negotiable.
Next time you hold a simple paintbrush, just remember what an example it is for you as part of the church. When we are willing to lay ourselves down and become pliable, we can join in unity and be used by the hand of God to accomplish his purpose for the church. That is a beautiful masterpiece.
Selma Baptist Church Woodruff, SC