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What makes unity difficult?

JOHN CLARK (1933-2004) WAS ONE OF THOSE QUIET, UNASSUMING, GENTLE PEOPLE whose impact on others can easily be underestimated. Yet at a thanksgiving service held in his memory last week on the YWAM base in Harpenden, north of London, John’s qualities were eulogised by friends and family from several countries in both hemispheres. I was a teenager when I first met John, who had just opened the first charismatic bookshop in New Zealand. At the age of 49 years, he left New Zealand with his wife Val and four children to pioneer YWAM in Northern Ireland, and later moved to England and managed the bookstore at YWAM Harpenden.

As Romkje and I sat in the chapel listening to three hours of stories about John at the thanksgiving service, it struck me how much his life resembled the mustard seed or yeast Jesus spoke of to illustrate the growth of the kingdom: a quiet, faithful, serving, gracious, unobtrusive and yet very fruitful influence on all who crossed his path.

We read together the following poem John had written, a poem that reflected his life of integrity: what you saw was what you got.

What Makes Unity Difficult?

If I talk of Servanthood, yet am not a servant –
Expecting favours or privileges that separate me from you –
If I show little or no interest in your ministry
Or your goals and aspirations;
Then I make Unity difficult.

If I am not available to bear your burden and pray,
Keeping exclusively to my own sphere of interests –
Not caring about your unique character, personality and giftings
With no interest in where you are coming from;
Then I make Unity difficult.

If I do not consider you better than myself
Allowing pride, arrogance and rights to characterize me –
Show no understanding of your limitations
And not caring and praying for your teenagers;
Then Unity is difficult.

If I don’t hear from God each day,
Am not being filled with His Holy Spirit,
If my body knows no offering as a living sacrifice
And my cross is not taken up daily;
Then Unity is difficult;

But, if my life contributes to the precious pouring of oil
and the heavenly dew falling on us
so that we receive God’s full blessing,
Then the difficult becomes a blessing in our midst.

Till next week,

Jeff Fountain

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