Eric Weinhenmayer was set on becoming the first person to climb Mt. Everest blind. He had an outstanding team around him, he had trained hard, they had a carefully detailed plan. But all this prep was useless if Eric couldn’t make it through the Khumbu Icefall. This was a perilous section of crevasses and glaciers that each climber had to travel before starting towards the summit. Can you imagine walking blind on a narrow ladder slung over a hundred-foot-deep crevasse? And they all knew that they had to cover the icefall in less than 8 hours in order to make it to the summit. But when they had finished, it ended up taking 13 hours for Eric to make it through with everyone’s help. The whole team was feeling down, but they refused to give up. They tried it again and again. They honed their skills, they communicated better, they got in the groove, and Eric leaned on his comrades more trustingly. And after several more practice runs, they were able to finish the Icefall in just 5 hours. That was the first big step towards Eric making the summit and making history. They had conquered because they trusted each other implicitly and had a strong sense of unity.
In Ephesians 4, Paul encourages the Ephesian Church to unite around obeying God and showing love to each other. He says, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6) It’s clear that Paul has a deep, tender interest in the spiritual well-being of the Ephesian believers. He wants to see them take joy in partnering with God. But the main point he gives about faithfully following God’s call involves unity. He says, “Make every effort…,” do everything in your power in other words, “to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” The unity that Paul talks about here calls for trust. When we trust and support each other sincerely, then we can have a level of honesty and mutual joy that will catch other people’s attention. A unified, loving company of Christians is a mighty witness to the world. Unity opens the way for us to truly partner with God in sharing His love!