24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
Living in the UK means that I am not too familiar with locusts. One thing I am certain of is that the farmers I know would not be pleased to see a swarm of hungry locusts heading for their crops. My knowledge of locusts is purely Biblical, and the plague of locusts that hit the fields of Egypt when a stubborn Pharaoh refused to listen to God comes to mind. It is the swarm that strikes terror into a farmer’s heart. One or two locusts here and there are not a problem. But a group of locusts united as one body with a fearsome hunger is something to be worried about. A farmer knows when his fields have been visited by a swarm of locusts.
What about the church? The church is a diverse body split into denominations, with each denomination split further, and individual congregations comprised of people of different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and mindsets. While I feel certain that God celebrates the diversity of His Church I wonder what God thinks of a church that allows differences to become disputes to the extent that the body becomes divided instead of diverse.
The challenge for any church if presented in the language of this proverb is the wisdom in being united. A church that is united in its diversity and outward-looking ought to be making a noticeable difference in its neighborhood. People know that the church is there. If a church is divided and inward-looking then it is more than possible that all that is visible is a building.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:3-5 NIV)