Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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The Triumph of Togetherness

By on November 10, 2014

On this Monday morning, would you permit me to address the “togetherness” issue just once more? Psalm 133 tells us that its “good and pleasant for brothers to dwell together in unity.” There’s a big difference between “unity” and “uniformity,” but I’ve noticed there are some folks out there who really get  those words confused. David speaks here of the triumph of togetherness…being “together!” Note what he says.

Togetherness is enjoyable. It is both “good and pleasant” when people are joined by similarities in their character and in their concerns. Not long before his death, I had the privilege of visiting with Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys,  as we were riding from the hotel over to the church I was pastoring. I asked Tom what he would do differently if he could “do it all over again.” Without a pause he replied that he’d “switch one and three.” Of course, I was curious.

“Oh, he said, “I used to have three standards for recruiting: talent, drive, and character…in that order. Now, I would recruit using the same standards, but character would be first, and talent last. You see” he continued,”I’ve had a lot of seasons blown by men who had no character.” I got the picture…and the lesson!

Togetherness is evident. It’s like the “precious oil coming down on the head and on the beard, Aaron’s beard.” Let’s admit it! With all due respect to the guys who play in them, “All Star “games don’t usually draw the biggest crowds, other than scouts, of course. Why? Because they are all stars. They have nothing really to win or lose as a team and very little to prove by it. And though they are great talents, they haven’t spent the time it takes to learn how to play together. Someone once told me that stadium athletics will always be popular as long as people live in homes and work in offices where they don’t see togetherness at play. The weekend games let them see something they haven’t experienced all week. Mmmm. I wonder if that’s true.

Togetherness is essential. “It is like the dew of Hermon coming down on the mountains of Zion.” Get the picture? Way to the north of Israel, with both rain and snow, is Mount Hermon. But down south, where Jerusalem is located, it is relatively arid. So why is there dew on the ground each morning? It almost like (if mountains could talk) Mount Hermon is saying, “My King lives in Jerusalem. If the Mountains of Zion need my moisture, they’ve got it! Nothing is too good for my King!” The biggest work always gets done by people who are sacrificially at work together.

As I said last Friday, Jeannie and I really enjoy these day together. So, how about you? Why not get it together, at home, at church and…

Rejoice evermore!

Tom

2 Tim 1:12

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