By Allen White
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16
Harmony seems like such a Hippie word. In fact, a student at my college was raised by Hippie parents in the Northwest. Her name was Melody. Her sister’s was Harmony. Harmony is reminiscent of that old Coca-Cola commercials, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…” (Let’s all sway together.)
I don’t know that our focus is so much harmony as avoiding disharmony. You do your thing. I’ll do my thing. As long as our things don’t interfere, we sort of have harmony. Avoidance or tolerance would be better terms.
In music, harmony is any simultaneous combination of tones. Every instrument doesn’t play the melody in unison, but all of the different tones fit together. Harmonies can be beautiful. Disharmony can be painful.
According to this passage, the issue of harmony revolves around pride, conceit and snobbery. The problem comes down to how our possessions make us feel important.
I love cars (and I didn’t say like). Over the years, I have owned the following vehicles: Porsche, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Honda, Toyota, Ford, and Mazda. In high school mine was the only Porsche in the parking lot. I loved that little Porsche. I could break the speed limit with elegance. There weren’t a lot of Porches in Topeka, Kansas in the early ‘80s. But, when another Porsche saw me, I got a little wave. I was in an elite club of Porsche owners. It felt good.
Then, the Porsche fell apart. After a two year hiatus from any car, my parents gave me a 1974 Cadillac Coupe deville. It was huge. It could sleep six. It was rust colored which fortunately matched the rust. It got nine miles per gallon, which fortunately my folks bought the gas. I wasn’t proud of that car. It got me from point A to point B without having to beg my college friends for a ride, but that was the best of it. It had a very smooth ride probably because it weighed 8000 pounds.
Shortly after college, I traded up to an Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais. Now, I was back in business. A few years later, I upgraded to a Honda Accord. When the Accord turned 12-years-old, I got a free car from my father-in-law, so it was a Ford and a Toyota. Both were respectable cars.
Today, I am driving a 12-year-old Mazda that was a godsend in a time of vehicular need. It gets me from point A to point B. And, at this point in my life, that is all that I need. The reality is that Porsche Allen would not have associated with Mazda Allen. Fortunately, Mazda Allen is mature enough to realize that our significance comes from God, not from what we drive.
Jesus didn’t drive anything. In fact, Jesus was basically homeless (Matthew 8:20). He was on the fringe of society. Jesus didn’t put up with the conventional wisdom of the day. As the Firstborn of All Creation (Colossians 1:15), Jesus knew that a person’s place in this life had no bearing on their place in the next. In fact, the opposite was true (Mark 10:31).
How has disharmony crept into your life? Who are you uncomfortable being around? Who do you feel “better than”? I would encourage you to repent of those thoughts and see the true worth of God’s children.
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