“But above all these, [put on] love, which is the bond of perfection.” Colossians 3:14
Have you ever noticed how a building made up of bricks is put together? Brick goes upon brick, layer by layer, until the top is reached. But these layers cannot just be stack upon each other hoping that the wall will be secure. Even the most accurate brick wall built this way will eventually fail and fall. There must be something adhering brick to brick, layer to layer. That something is called mortar. It is an incredibly strong adhesive that takes many bricks in multiple layers and brings them into a cohesive one, with an incredible strength designed to resist the forces of nature.
What is one common way to which the followers of Jesus are referred in the New Testament? As a building, as a temple, made up of living stones. Each follower is a stone and helps make up a layer of the building. But just like just stacking bricks on top of each other makes a very dangerous and insecure structure, just stacking living stones upon each other without any mortar is also very dangerous.
What is the mortar that binds together living stones into a solid, safe, secure, cohesive, and beautiful whole? Love. Love is the mortar that brings about unity. And the building isn’t just comprised of one local congregation. No. One local congregation is just one room in a mansion made up of many rooms. And because the mansion is made up of many rooms, not only must each individual room be unified through the mortar of love, but each room must also be secured to the other rooms through the mortar of love as well.
And, honestly, I believe so many followers of Jesus and local congregations get derailed at this point. They only see their one room with its individual decor and think they are the whole mansion. They forget there are other rooms in the mansion, which may have a different decor, but is established on the same foundation of Jesus as their room is.
It is through love, which I define as a practical act of the will, that the whole mansion is brought together. And because it is love that brings about the unity of the mansion, any act that does not promote and bring together the unity of the mansion beyond individual congregations is and unloving act and threatens the strength and beauty of the mansion in the sight of those in the community outside the mansion.
Sadly, there are many cracks in the mansions in local communities. These must be addressed. And the only way to do that is through practical acts of love that bring congregations together in definitive ways with other congregations. Don’t be a person and don’t be an individual congregation that causes cracks in the mansion. Be a person and a local congregation that brings together the mansion so it can be seen by those in the community as a beautiful building, one they want to experience on the inside.