Reply to All

by Melissa Myers
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
A few months ago, an email was sent out by a corporate employee at my company. The email was mistakenly sent to everyone; being a global organization, that meant tens of thousands of contacts. The email asked for a response if you wished not to be included in the ensuing correspondence. Immediately there was a rapid fire of return emails using the “reply all” option. You could hear the constant pings of incoming email alerts throughout the office. Our work was interrupted, our mailboxes jammed, and many necessary applications began to fail.
I found it quite interesting to see how differently people reacted to the situation. I have the “quick view” option on my email so I saw replies without opening anything. Many misunderstood the obvious error and asked to be removed from the list. Some replied angrily in all caps asking people to stop using the “reply all” option, while they themselves obviously used it. Others were politely attempting to inform others of what was happening. Some took an instructional approach, adding screen shots to redirect. There were many that found humor in it, writing things like “oh the humanity” and “please, think of the children”. Some blamed our administrators, voicing threatening complaints, and some shared their wisdom with technical work-arounds.
The split-second “send” required a few hours to correct because of a lack of unity and insight as to how to respond. Had we all taken a moment and simply not replied, there would have been no issue. The company and all of its independent franchises lost time and revenue across the world.
It brought to mind the Church as the Body of Christ and how uniquely each member processes information and responds to crises. What a challenge to find unity and a focused resolve! Satan is quick to send costly messages that generate confusion and disharmony. However, God “replied to all” before any issues evolved and equipped us with the focused direction we need. He has already addressed any crisis we may endure as a body and as individuals. We are not called to judge or demean the diverse interpretations and methods of others. He instead instructs us to obediently “reply” only to Him using our gifts in our own unique ways. In doing so, our contributions will build up the Church and reap spiritual maturity.
Father God, let your Holy Spirit move in me to use what you have given to me individually and to seek only to encourage others as they do the same.

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