The How of Unity by David Smith

We know that in a world gone mad, God’s people are the ones who, rather than tearing each other apart, are to come together and forge the shape of oneness.

And yet, we Christians must confess that we often make it harder than it has to be.

As in way harder!

And so, commissioned with preaching on how God’s people can be united, I prayed:

“God, help me see how your people can keep the unity you create!”

And what was the first thing that popped into my head following prayer?

Ants. Yes, those tiny creatures who work like mad together in the present with the future always in view.

“The ant … gets its food in summer; gathers its provisions at harvest. … Ants … store away their food in the summer.” (Proverbs 6.8; 30.25)

Then I remembered some of the work of people like David Hu and Paul Foster at the Georgia Institute of Technology regarding fire ants. How that in their study of the remarkable structure of fire ant rafts they found that these tiny creatures live through tumultuous times because they literally come to “stick together.” Every ant is involved; no exceptions. No kicking each other in the tail. No eye-gouging. No biting each other’s head off. Rather, with their individual diversity they simultaneously exercise profound flexibility and oneness of purpose in their relationships with each other.

It’s a truly fascinating story. I encourage you to read about it here. And hereherehere, and here, if you’d like more.

And it was then our Lord’s words came to my mind:

“… treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7.12)

That is the how of unity, isn’t it?!

It’s simple to say, but often a hard way. And so I prayed once more:

In the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you, Father God, for teaching me about one of the biggest things your people must be about by means of one of the smallest of things around us all of the time. May I, and all of your people, in every big and small way, seek to always treat each other with respect and sensitivity, with reflection and humility, with focus and purpose, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
David Smith is the Preaching Minister at the Missouri Street Church of Christ located in Baytown, TX. His musings, thoughts, and other writings can be found at


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