Humans, like animals, need others with whom to identify, for security reasons. However, for humans, the Tower of Babel story could reveal bad precedent (Gen. 11:4-8). Jesus declared: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”(Matt. 20:28 NIV). Without reflecting the mind of Christ, Christian fellowship can lead people astray
True Christians reflect the same attitude, being cause for goodness in societies—without necessarily focusing on advantages derived from association. The principle of service is applicable where there are other humans with whom to associate. Christian fellowship has slight difference from other associations, due to its connection with the Kingdom of God.
On becoming a Christian, one behaves differently from how ordinary humans behave. Ordinary humans desire to associate, mostly for purposes of attaining envisioned benefits. This is what causes degeneration, leading to all the known undesirable developments with humanity. See [Personal Salvation vs. God’s Kingdom]
Ordinarily, people join groups for what they can get, instead of what they can give. Joining the group for what one gives, leads to the original intention of the creation of humanity. That principle is what takes away enmity and enables humanity to globally become one, as portraying God’s will.
On face value, unity promotes a sense of security, yet one can only be secure when being closer to God. And to be closer to God implies thinking like God and behaving like God. The purpose of the tower of Babel was, sadly, to make a name—without checking on how that idea conformed to God’s ideas.
The power of majority incapacitates individual perceptions. Anything adopted by the majority becomes sacrosanct, even when not agreeing with Godly principles. The reason why people succumb to that is due to their being disconnected to God. This is from where the idea of worshipping other gods emanates.
The feeling of insecurity results from the legendary separation from God, as it took place at the Garden of Eden. Ever since that time, each individual thinks in terms of personal survival, without considering the fate of other people’s survival. Satan is always handy, to deceive the misinformed people.
Inward looking—as concentrating on what one gets—generally leads towards eventual demise. The larger a group is; the less affectionate people become, due to survival resource limitations. Yet, on the other hand, the most important component in human survival is love—applicable when relating to other people.
Fellowship, itself, implies communion of like-minded people, with a common objective. This is a practice that is cordially encouraged (Heb. 10:25). Benefits accrue from people of diverse backgrounds, learning to tolerate and encourage one another to remain focused. Most challenges, otherwise not possible to handle, when alone, become easily handled.
We were created with different talents and abilities. Problems can easily be handled, through our diversified talents and abilities, as long as those involved appreciate the principle of altruism. This is a simple datum that humanity has failed to appreciate, as each individual struggles for personal survival. Rarely, do people take advantage of other people due to pride.
In a self-centred civilization, adopting altruistic culture cannot be easy. Only The Holy Spirit equips members with altruistic principles, which is enhanced in fellowship. Relationships, in true Christianity, no matter how challenging, was designed not to be broken by anything.
A church organization is supposed to be a miniature of God’s Kingdom. Its foundation comprised twelve disciples, with diverse backgrounds, but unified by Christ. That relationship does not take into consideration, the common interests, based on cultural backgrounds. It is a relationship that seeks to advance God’s interests, rather than human interests.
The significance of fellowship can be experienced—where the mind-set of each member of a Christian fellowship focuses on what adds value on others. In an ideal Christian environment, all are equipped to serve. This is accurately described in chapter twelve of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
Being in the church only for purposes of belonging should not be the aim. The authority of Jesus cannot be replaced by doctrines—but by the mind-set that desires to add value on others. True Christians think more in terms of what they can give to others. That includes listening and positively appreciating other people’s talents and praising God, as everything comes from God.
Christian faith allows diversity among believers, tolerating each other in peaceful co-existence. Only those not properly applying the principle of tolerance and unconditional love have good reasons to dissociate. It is darkness that disappears from the brilliance of light (1 John 2:19).
Generally, Godly principle focuses on the opposite of what drives most people into membership with any organization. People from outside get attracted by good things provided by those applying altruism. Ordinary people are commonly attracted by what they can get, more than what they can give.
Ideally, a Christian organization also attracts people who join for the sole purpose of what they can get (Self-centredness). Such people are no different from those people who thronged Jesus Christ, wherever He went. It is only the baptized ones who would be expected to make a difference (Luke 14:25-33).
The baptized are expected to be the light that reveals principles of altruism. Each baptized member takes responsibility to instil value among those attracted to join the organization for personal benefits. Through the power of influence, the baptized—when applying principles of altruism—can influence as many people into Christianity. See [Influencing change does not need fighting or religion].
The difference between Christianity and other secular organizations, is that Christianity is not grounded on self-centredness. A lot of discomfort can be experienced when associating with people who do not understand the principle of altruism. Christ insists that one should rejoice and be glad when meeting such challenges (Matthew 5:11-12).
The ability to understand some doctrine ahead of other believers is not, necessarily, a good reason for dissociation. The person develops patience, constantly praying for fellow group members to also come to grips with what the person understands. Naturally, one eventually becomes a blessing for the entire group—yet without even feeling conceited about it.
While facing opposition, one should be clear on being on the side of Christ, than stubbornly being influenced by personal feelings. Prayer is necessary, for purposes of distinguishing between God’s will and personal opinions. Opposing forces should never be based on personal interests or preferences. See [Genuine conflict is between good and evil]
However, praying for other group members does not imply that one is not part of their misunderstanding. One takes full responsibility for their misunderstanding. Jesus Christ did that for the sinful humanity. The person with new understanding carries full responsibility for his or her friends’ failures (1 John 3:16).
Others keep to themselves what God reveals, fearing backlash—a demonstration of cowardice—thereby compromising the purpose of association. A Christian is led by the Holy Spirit without fear or being dictated to by pain and suffering. The error could grip the person assuming to be holding some new revelation, without realizing it to be erroneous. Humility comes handy, in avoiding feelings of discomfort after eventually being proven to be in error.
The Holy Spirit helps in tolerating and empathising with others on matters of comprehension. In law, Advocates seek to understand clients, regardless of the nature of criminality. Like-wise, true Christians tolerate each other’s shortcomings, because they understand them. God consistently does so.
However, a true Christian does not interpret unity as constituting the significance of a healthful organization. God’s will is always the aim, not in attaining the comfort that comes with unity. While unity has strengths, considering achievements on greater objectives, it also carries outweighing disadvantages:
“Then they said, ‘come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth’…The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other. So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city”(Gen. 11:4-8 NIV).
Why did God not subscribe to the idea of making a name, as desired by the proponents of the Tower of Babel? What was wrong with a suggestion, innocently identifying with the current civilization? Nations uphold identities, endeavouring to be competitively superior.
We have superpowers, in comparison with the third-world, or poor countries. What could have been positive about scattering across the earth? Instead of remaining in solidified unity, improving relational bonds among the like-minded compatriots? The question ought to be: How does this viewpoint conform to God’s mind?
The issue of identity encourages people to promote interests of their own nations, or ethnicities, ahead of others. A group from where one belongs is loved more than others. However, in that behaviour, originates envy, causing wars as known to exist today. Hard work should be encouraged, as being inclusive of the entire humanity, regardless of racial origin or unacceptable backgrounds.
Jesus came to reverse the civilization that identifies with the Tower of Babel (self-centredness). Humans, inherent with group instinct can easily be misled through the opinions that come from group influence.
Group influence is appealing to ordinary human beings. But it does not always consider negative effects like possible infectious diseases and resource limitations. Such infectious diseases are effect of grouping instinct—based on self-centredness, which leads humanity towards eventual demise.
Unlike God, who makes something out of nothing, humans, like animals, are susceptible to make nothing out of something. For survival purposes, something has to die—a condition with all created species. The survival of one species is a threat to another, yet the survival of a threatened species is providence to the threatening one.
Nothing survives without being threat to the cause of others species’ survival––also in need of survival. This leads towards eventual demise of everything physical. As long as identifying with that philosophy, a person would still be of this world. When thinking like God, one focuses towards the survival of an adversary. This is why Christ taught Christians to love their enemies (Matthew 5:44-46).
Humans scramble for limited resources, killing other species for survival purposes. But that is not God’s nature, whose attribute is creation. Squabbles arise, due to resource limitations, contrasting God’s nature. Loving our enemies is making something out of nothing, identifying with God who then calls us His children.
This is the gospel that Christians must go out to preach to all nations (Mark 16:15). All evil that exists in the world reveals that the gospel is not effectively being preached, as evil exists, even among Christians still practicing self-centredness. To allow altruism to take effect, God’s will needs to be applied as in Heaven.
Christians should not neglect regular meetings as groupings, sharing ideas in advancing the gospel (Heb. 10:25). The group could comprise two or three people or more (Matt. 18:20). They avoid the error of inward looking as to constantly preach among selves—as if to condemn those living in sinful conditions.
The aim should be to avoid making a name for a denominational institution; as to fortify the current civilization. Focusing on making a name for any institutional organization is harbinger to deterioration into degeneration and eventual demise of humanity. But Jesus Christ brought an idea that reverses the wrongness that is commonly associated with that kind of human behaviour.
Constructing an elaborately beautiful church building for those of the same fellowship appears noble and innocent. But there could be a hidden danger, falling onto the mind pattern of the proponents of the Tower of Babel. There has to be a clear answer to the question, whether the building ornamental, for self glory, or advancing what benefits others.
Worshippers begin to favourably compare themselves with those without such ornamental meeting places. Though, such buildings could themselves be strategically effective, as long as there is no inclination towards making a name for the institution concerned.
When one feels proud, belonging to a church that identifies with him/her, the Tower of Babel mentality grips that person. Jesus also died for those being disdainfully viewed as unacceptable. Ideally, one is needed more to those bizarre groups, than remaining in the comfort among those considered as enlightened. The light is more effective in dark areas and not where there is sunlight.
The terrible mistake is to gleefully despise those struggling in sin without coming up with programmes to change their awful conditions. God’s will is senior to belonging to a particular denomination that makes someone feel better than outsiders. The first call of fellowship is with God. David craved; “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord and to seek him in his temple”(Ps. 27:4-5 NIV).
Christian fellowship should be encouraged and nurtured, without forgetting that each member represents the higher authority, working in mysterious ways. God intends to bring all humanity into one fellowship with Him. Embracing everyone and tolerating everyone regardless of background should be the aim of every Christian.
In other words, this world needs transformation, so that humanity begins think like God. This is possible, where each surviving person thinks in terms of adding value to the next person, who also discovers the purpose of his/her existence to be what he/she does for other people. This is all about survival, more than it is about law-keeping.
Fellowship in Christianity, ought to encourage those involved to realise the significance of bringing humanity into a globalized human fellowship with God. God wants us all to appreciate that we are our brothers’ keepers.
The focus should be towards removing every obstacle that causes division, by concentrating on that which unifies humanity. God’s mind is about unity, rather than division. With proper application, Christianity is the only instrument that facilitates that reality.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99