These people are not drowning today!” This thought entered Jessica Simmons’ mind when she watched as six members of a single family struggled after a powerful riptide had swept them away at a Panama City Beach.
Others had tried to reach the family in trouble, but each previous rescue attempt left more people stranded. A lifeguard was not on duty. A rescue boat had not yet arrived. People began to use boogie boards, surf boards and their arms and legs to attempt a rescue.
When someone shouted, “Form a human chain,” five people volunteered, followed by 10 more. Then dozens more joined as the rescue mission grew increasingly desperate. Simmons and her husband, Derek, swam past the 80 or so human link and headed for the stranded swimmers. The couple managed to reach the children first, passing them via the human chain toward the beach.
Nearly an hour later, through the efforts of the growing human chain, linked together with wrists, legs and arms, the last of the 10 stranded swimmers were rescued. One of the adults rescued said, “It actually showed me there are good people in this world.”
Whether all of the rescuers that day were believers or not, their selfless act should be an example to everyone. Through their unified actions, 10 people are still alive.
Unity seems to be scarce in today’s world as people argue about who’s right and what’s wrong. This lack of working together is apparent in government, organizations, companies, families and even in and among churches.
In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth. Divided into various competing groups, the church was a mess. Disorder prevailed, the Lord’s Supper had been abused, spiritual gifts were misused, adultery was tolerated and some even denied the resurrection of the dead.
Unwilling to give up on the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Why was Paul so concerned? First, Paul loved God. Second, he loved the brethren at Corinth and wanted to see them confess their sins and repent.
In an article by author, Warren E. Berkley, he shares the story of visiting someone in the hospital where he prayed with the person before leaving. Another patient overheard the prayer and started asking questions. Using New Testament passages, he answered her questions. Before leaving, she said, “You people in the church of Christ all say the same thing!”
Reflecting years later, Berkley said, “I pray this is true…that we speak the same thing because our source is the same.”
He adds, “As Christians we ought to be a people who seek peace; who pursue peace; who love harmony. And who abhor division!”
When Christians are unified, we can make a bigger impact for God’s kingdom.