Lent Devotions: Day 2
Lowest Common Denominator
Read: Philippians 2:1-11
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion… (v. 1 NIV)
My eighth-grade math teacher preached a gospel of lowest common denominators. I never became a math-convert but eventually caught on to the concept: find the smallest number that a group of larger numbers is divisible by. This was the one fundamental number that connected the others.
This technique is helpful for reducing fractions, and the same principle applies to Christian unity. Paul’s exhorts the Philippians in verse one to find the common denominators between them. The repetition of “if you have any…if any…if any…if any” underscores this point. Paul tells the Philippians, as well as us, to look for encouragement, comfort, shared life, tenderness, or faithful compassion and when we’ve found it, to hold it up and focus our attention on it. It will create unity.
During this Lenten season, we focus on basic truths that connect us: Jesus suffered for each of us; he conquered sin and death; he left the tomb empty. By focusing on these “common denominators” just like the early church did, we become like a fraction that’s been reduced and can no longer be divided.
Look for a way to share the encouragement and comfort you’ve received from God. Practice the same tenderness and compassion God has shown you. –Amy Blackledge
Prayer: Remind me daily of the common faith I share with fellow travelers on this journey. Help me to be a source of encouragement rather than division.