“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”
(1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
Everywhere we look, in our homes and families, within the church, and out in the world, we see amazing blends of unity and diversity. In a classroom for instance, we see students with varying physical characteristics, unique personal histories, and unique interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Nevertheless, we see amazing unity in their common desire to learn the same material, and their shared belief that there is value in doing so. We could go much further and point out that despite the diversity that exists in that classroom, virtually everyone believes that objective standards of right reason and right moral conduct actually exist. Asking different people how they account for this can be a lot of fun, especially when dealing with people who are resistant to the fact that God alone accounts for the existence of such standards and our awareness of them. Whatever the case, our fallen world has a terrible problem understanding not only the existence of human unity and diversity, but in how to properly respect and utilize these twin truths of human existence to bless the lives of others. Our current government is a good example. Our leaders cry, “Diversity is our strength!” while imposing upon their citizens one-size-fits-all solutions to our serious social problems. Those whose opinions differ from the reigning powers that be are labeled “a small, fringe minority whose views are unacceptable.” Of course this is inappropriate, but so is complete, unmitigated freedom across the board. That is not good either. In the interests of public safety we need some unifying laws to keep behaviors within a certain range. What fallen man lacks is the wisdom to properly understand, respect, and utilize human unity and diversity. The fact is, man can search the entire created order for this wisdom and he will not find it. He must, as it were, go beyond the created order and consult the infinitely wise Creator Himself (Job 28; Colossians 2:3). Our blessed, holy, and mysterious God is Himself One divine Being Who nevertheless exists and operates as three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7). We may say that both unity and diversity have an ultimacy in the Triune God of the Bible, Who was pleased to reflect these twin realities in the created order itself, especially among His human image-bearers. Unfortunately, in a sin-cursed world, people—even God’s people—have a hard time properly relating to both of these human realities in their own communities. Nevertheless, our gracious God invites us to consult Him for the requisite wisdom, promising to give us as much as we need (James 1:5). As we consult our wise God, let us praise Him also for his tender love and continuous provision.
God bless you, my (diverse!) church family