June 21, 2018

One Mind

Philippians 4:1-3

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

—  Philippians 4:2

Paul’s letters to churches like the one at Philippi were probably first read aloud at a worship gathering. So in Philippi one day, do you suppose Euodia and Syntyche got embarrassed at this point, hearing their names read in connection with a conflict?

For some reason they had had a falling out, and everyone knew about it. Perhaps these two had not spoken to each other in a while, and they tended to avoid each other. Even if they were not talking, others likely were talking about them—so it’s no surprise that Paul himself had heard about it.

Most congregations have a scenario or two in which some members nurse a grudge against one another. Sadly, in some situations people conclude that there’s no fixing it, so they resolve to put up with it. “I’m not stepping into the middle of that one!” we might say, or, “I wouldn’t touch that one with a ten-foot pole!”

But Paul stepped in. We cannot be united in Christ and yet be at odds with one another. Strained relationships may not be easy to repair. But we are called to try.

As Paul puts it, it’s not just about having the same mind but having the same mind “in the Lord.” The Lord himself is involved with our disagreements, and we need to resolve them for his sake.

Lord, you know our conflicts with others as well as we do. Give us the courage to become of one mind with our sisters and brothers. Give us that courage for your own sake. Amen.

About the author — Scott Hoezee

Scott Hoezee is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church who served two congregations before joining the faculty at Calvin Theological Seminary in 2005 as the director of its Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of numerous books, reviews, and articles, and he is a cohost of the radio program Groundwork, a sister-program of Today devotional. He is married to Rosemary Apol, and they have two adult children and a Boston terrier named Chester.

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