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3/18/2011

SMALL THINGS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

There is a story in the book of Judges about a land dispute between two tribes, Ephraim and Gillead, who both needed access to a particular river crossing. As the conflict grew, the litmus test they devised was based on a form of credentialing to to allow access.

You see, the next to the last letter of the Hebrew language is pronounced differently depending on the placement of one small dot (Shin or Sin). The Gilieadites hit upon the idea of having persons who wished to use the ford pronounce the Hebrew word "Shibboleth". The Ephraimites would, by comparison, use the other pronunciations of "Siboleth." It was a simple test - answer correctly you crossed the river and answer incorrectly, by this test, and you died.

How ironic that the great letter, so to speak, they held in common was eclipsed by a small dot.
Now, how does this speak to us today?

Most of Christianity shares one great letter - a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, a loving God, and redemption and atonement for sins - yet often we allow the small, tiny dot to divide rather than unite us.

Most of America shares one great letter - a love of country, state, community, family, and friends - yet often we allow the small, tiny dot to divide rather than unite us.
More importantly - any church - should also share the "big letter" and not be devisive and argue over the "little dot." When we argue over the minor, unimportant things we shame Christ and we are a false witness to the community. When we can't get along because we can't get our way - We are totally unChristian. we are "sinning". Such action requires - no demands - that we repent and we ask forgiveness of those we have wronged.

Could we- personally, corporately, communally - do what those tribal brothers could not do? Can we celebrate today a fresh determination to not allow the tiny dot to eclipse the great shared letter?

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