2 Chronicles 17:1
“Then Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place, and strengthened himself against Israel.”
Sometimes, when reading our way through the Bible, we come across phrases that don’t seem to make sense. This is one of those times. In this text we find the king of Judah, a man reigning over the nation God chose to be a light to the whole world, strengthening himself against Israel. He is building defenses, not against the nations around him, but against the northern tribes who had the same call as he did. Instead of reading that the twelve tribes developed a unified front to reach the world with the message of God, we find Judah had to build defenses against the attacks from Israel.
Sadly, this was not a one time occurrence. Paul’s ministry was plagued with attacks from those claiming to follow Christ. They targeted his character, his audience, and his methodology of reaching the lost. They questioned the message he shared and the way he shared it, and brought upon him a constant barrage of personal attacks, that forced him to strengthen his hands against the church. I am also reminded of Peter who saw a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven filled with a wide variety of clean and unclean animals. While pondering its meaning, God spoke to him that he was no longer to make a distinction between the two. Instead of this message having its primary fulfillment in our diet, Peter soon learned that God was making it clear that the Gospel was designed for the whole world. Peter made his way to the home of a Gentile man who was showing interest in the things of God. As Peter shared Christ with him, the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven upon the man and his family. As Peter witnessed this, he realized God wanted to reach every man, woman and child in the whole world, regardless of their nationality or religious affiliation. When Peter returned with this amazing news, he was immediately confronted by some who questioned him for eating with Gentiles. That may be the ultimate example of majoring on the minors.
I wonder how powerful the church’s message would become if we stopped fighting over things that don’t matter, and instead, spent our energies on what matters most. There is a world filled with people who desperately need Jesus and some of them live right next door. Let’s be about sharing the love of Christ with a dying world.