Several years ago Charles Brown wrote the following analogy with deep significance:
A solemn assembly was called. Apostles and Prophets gathered to sit in conference with one another. Chairs were circled, so no one man would sit at the head. As each man took his seat, an unusual silence filled the room. The men sat staring at one another, almost forgetting the reason they had assembled, not one man wanting to speak. Out of the unusual silence a Voice spoke and asked, “Button, button, who has the Button?”
As if well rehearsed, the men jumped to their feet and shouted in chorus: “I’ve got the Button! I’ve got the Button!” Each man raising his arms in the air with closed hands to show the Voice, and then one another, that they indeed were holding the Button. Their voices roared, as if trying to drown out one another, shouting with great apostolic and prophetic confidence: “Yes, I’ve got the Button!” “I’ve got the Button!”
Their voices were hoarse from shouting as the roar subsided and all responses stopped. And again the unusual silence filled the room, each man still standing with arm raised and hand closed. Slowly their arms began to drop and each man opened his hand and stared into his palm. And not in one hand was the Button.
But there was something in each man’s hand – a small piece of the Button. Every man standing in the room was holding a Button Fragment. Not all of the fragments were the same size or shape. Some were larger, some smaller; some were round and smooth, some oblong and jagged, but each man held some part of the Button.
Again the Voice broke the unusual silence and asked, “Button, button, who had the Button?” This time there was no quick answer. The men stood silent, no longer examining their own fragment or the fragment of their neighbor, but with their heads lowered, arms hanging limp at their sides, and all boasting stopped – they stood dumbfounded in the unusual silence.
Finally, one man confessed in a broken voice, “I don’t have the Button…” And another whispered, “I don’t have the Button…” And another with a deep sigh, “I don’t have the Button…” This time the response was personal, quiet, and remorseful, as every man in the circle admitted to himself, to the Voice and to his peers, “I don’t have the Button.”
Once again the unusual silence filled the room. Moments passed into eternity. And again the Voice broke the unusual silence: “I gave you bits and pieces but you assumed you possessed the Whole. I sought to increase and shape those pieces but you refused to open your hand. I desired to enlarge your fragments and mold them with other fragments, but you refused to let go. My gift you made your possession. My generosity you turned into exclusiveness. My revelation has become your prejudice. You speak of unity yet build invisible barriers between yourselves with your boasting, I’ve got the Button! As you see, all you really have is a fragment. And you are protecting, exalting and defending your fragment as if it were the Whole. My sons, you have not yet seen the Whole!”
No longer were men standing, they were on their faces. The Button fragments had slipped from their hands and lay scattered around the floor. Their hands were empty. Their self-confident hearts were broken and their proud spirits softened. For the third time the Voice asked, “Button, button, who has the Button?” Through tears of contrition came the gentle reply, “Lord, You have the Button!”
Jesus said, “Before you can remove the speck from your brother’s eye, you must first remove the beam from your own eye.” What does this say to you?
Tags: denomination, disharmony, division, prejudice, unity