In his book “Seeing Life: Finding God,” James L. Merrell, tells the story of a small, rural Tennessee church, from the 19th century that got into a fierce squabble which resulted in division.
The 100 member church was split right down the middle. There was no resolution. Neither side had the resources to build or buy its own building so they agreed to use the same building but meet at different times. However, they had a separate treasury to pay their own bills. They even had separate piles of coal to fuel the pot belly furnace to heat the building in the winter.
All went along fine for a while until someone decided to make a statement of faith about the warring little congregation. Their fading church sign still proudly advertised under their name “One Lord. One Faith. One baptism.” But a spray painter added in bold letters under it “But Two Coal Piles.”
Our word of the week is “accord.”
Several times in the book of Acts, the New Testament Christians are spoken of as being in “one accord.” Following the establishment of the church on Pentecost, Luke writes, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart” (Ax 2:46).
Following the threats to Peter and John by rulers to cease preaching the name of Jesus, the disciples were undeterred. Instead, they praised God “with one accord” (Ax 4:24).
After a couple from their own number, Ananias and Sapphira, conspired to lie about their contribution for saints in need and were struck dead by the Holy Spirit, “great fear fell upon the church.” But they were united. As the apostles led the way, performing miracles and signs they were all “with one accord” (Ax. 5:11-12).
Later when some doctrinal differences threatened the unity of the brethren, the apostles and elders met to discuss the will of God concerning the matter. As they reasoned from Scripture, they reached the same conclusion and the Bible says they were “with one accord” (Ax 15:25).
To be in “one accord” literally means to be of one mind. With so much religious division today, that seems like an elusive dream. But it was the will of God from the beginning. The appeal of the apostles. And the pursuit of the first Christians.
In his wonderful Wordpoints Daybook Series, Enthusiastic Ideas, my friend Gary Henry makes this pertinent observation.
“The words “accord” and “chord” are obviously related. “Accord” means agreement, and in music, a “chord” consists of three or more notes which agree or harmonize when sounded simultaneously. Thus, accord is a kind of harmony, not of music but of mind. To be in accord, two minds don’t have to think the same thing (that would be unison, not harmony), but what they think has to be concordant rather than discordant. People in accord are able to strike a chord!”
How is that possible?
The apostle Paul provides the practical answer.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:1-4).
The secret of being in one accord is to have a submissive mind. A humble spirit. A heart for harmony. A divine love. And a commitment to the will of God instead of my own will.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman