I was surprised a couple of years ago to learn that the equine industry, taken as a whole, is one of the top three industries in the United States. In spite of its size there are so many and varied aspects of the business that it’s difficult to get the various segments to work together toward common goals. The draft horse owner and breeder, for example, may hardly be concerned that public lands are being closed to trail riders. Likewise an avid hunter-jumper rider isn’t going to lose much sleep over whether slot machines are permitted at race track facilities. This sort of segmenting has been a tremendous hindrance toward the industry as a whole being able to effect useful changes that would ultimately be of benefit on a more universal scale.
If horse lovers of all kinds banded together for the common good of all, we would carry a tremendous amount of financial and political clout. One legitimate concern is that people with varying interests within the community not have to sacrifice their personal interests and ideals in order to serve the common good. An example of this would be those who are opposed to using horses for slaughter–or to produce hormonal replacements–versus people who perceive a legitimate need for those aspects of the industry. Ultimately there needs to be a balance struck between values that are important to the individual, and what is good for the industry at large. Despite our many differences–and even dramatic differences of opinion–we still have one overriding thing in common, which is our involvement with equines.
Are there not some striking similarities here to the Christian community? While there are certainly legitimate differences between the various denominations and sects, we do after all have one overriding thing–Person–in common. And it is this Person on Whom the universal church stands. Nowhere in Scripture have I ever seen it written that a believer needs to add one single thing to their belief in Jesus Christ in order to be loved, justified, and saved from the power of sin. . .and yet, do we not add those stipulations when we refuse to accept another’s faith in Jesus as legitimate because the trappings of their religious beliefs, practices and system do not jibe with our own? Do we not weaken the power of the church of Jesus Christ as a whole when we fail to acknowledge many portions of Him as worthwhile and legitimate?
Ultimately it is more important to love and accept one another–wholeheartedly, without reservation–than it is to hold identical, or even similar, doctrines of faith. If a believer drinks wine. . .or will not eat meat. . .or practices baptism by sprinkling rather than immersion. . .or has faith that the salvation of Christ is for all men, rather than for a chosen few. . .does it really matter so very much in the end? Sometimes I believe the Lord allowed these ambiguities to exist as a test of our true resolve to love one another.
Oh for the day when we might be truly One in Him Who loves us all so unreservedly!
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Romans 14:1 As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions.
2 One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables.
3 Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him.
4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.
I John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.