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Dividing Cymbals

Story of the Day for Friday July 22, 2011

Dividing Cymbals

                     Its not that others should benefit while you suffer, but that there should be equality.

                                                                                1 Corinthians 8:13

 Many years ago, two churches, who jointly supported a Christian grade school, got in a spat and decided to close the school.

Martin Bangert wrote about the dissolution. All the textbooks were divided up evenly: ten geography books for you; ten geography books for us.

The process went smoothly until they came to the band instruments. There was only one pair of cymbals. So, what did they do? Rather than display a charitable attitude by offering the pair of cymbals to the other church, each maintained their rigid standard of equality: one cymbal for you; one cymbal for us.

A pair of cymbals is meant to be struck together to make a crashing exclamation point to a musical performance. But what do you do when you only have one half of the pair of cymbals? If two people both claim ownership to a pair of shoes, equality is the worst solution. Now you have two people: one with a left shoe, the other with a right shoe.

When equality becomes selfish, it is no longer fair; it is harmful.


When Paul talks about equality, he’s not talking about dividing up cymbals – he means something entirely different. Today, we could scream that his notion of equality was “unfair.” Paul urged that all believers should open their hearts to others in greater need. He wanted one church to generously give to help a poorer church.

How is that equality? Simple. As long as everyone maintains a kind and charitable heart, it will all work for everyone’s benefit in the end. When the first church, which gave so generously, is in need, then others will gladly return the favor to help them out.


When religious people asked why Jesus devoted so much attention to sinful people his response was that they needed more help. “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor,” he told them, “but the sick.”


KSHN-FM serves the cities of Dayton and Liberty, Texas. A conflict arose over whose Friday night football game they should broadcast. Should the station broadcast the game that was more important? Or should they just alternate weeks – despite the importance of the game?  Equality has half of the listeners unable to hear their favorite ballgame on Friday night.

But Bill Buchanan, the station president and GM developed an ingenious compromise called “Split Channel Sports.” Every Friday night the station broadcasts both football games simultaneously. If you want to listen to the Liberty Panthers you turn the balance control to the left speaker; if you want to hear the Dayton Broncos game, you use the right speaker.

Once both communities expressed their willingness to sacrifice stereo reception on Friday nights, everyone became a beneficiary. The sense of equality that doesn’t originate from selfishness is so much better than dividing cymbals.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre