People Of God — Diverse, Yet United
What if every one of us were just like everyone else? What if we were all cut from the same heavenly cookie cutter? We would look alike, dress alike, and think the same. At this point we might say, “Great! Everyone would see things my way. We would be one homogenous mass of Christianity.’
But obviously that is not who we are. Instead, we are a diverse group. The Lord has blessed us with a wide variety of natural talents and abilities. Some have the physical coordination to drive a golf ball 300 yards straight down the fairway. Some have an analytical mind which can easily solve complex business matters, while still others have hands that can fix anything or that have the skill to grow a bumper crop of hay, corn, or soybeans. We are a diverse people.
That is also true in the realm of spiritual gifts. Paul wrote the Corinthians: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (1 Cor. 12:4-6). The Spirit certainly has not been stingy with His gifts to us. Some have exceptional insights into the mean of Holy Scripture. Some are gifted teachers. By the Spirit’s power others have taken courageous stands on the Gospel truth even when it meant separation from family and former fellowship. Still others have the ability to bring just the right word of Scripture to bear on a particular situation.
But how does diversity stack up in comparison with cookie cutter sameness? It is far superior! The apostle compares it to the diversity within the human body. “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” Each individual part of the body is important. All the diverse spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit are just as vital to the Church. Each of us has one or more of them.
Joined To Jesus By Faith
We are a diverse people, yet we are also united. We are all one in the body of Christ, the Holy Christian Church. We all share the same relationship with the Lord Jesus. We are joined to Him by our common faith in Him as the only Savior from sin and death. His love unites us to Himself and to one another.
That makes for a common purpose as well. Paul says: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). It’s like the body. The heart doesn’t beat just for its own sake. It serves the good of the whole body. When the legs are running and crying out for more oxygen-rich blood, the heart responds by beating faster. In the same way the Spirit wants His gifts used for the good of the whole. In love for the Lord we want to serve Him and one another with every gift and ability we have.
When every part of the body is in synch with every other part, we can think clearly and act decisively. For our congregations and synod to be effective witnesses to the love of Christ, there must be a coordinated effort of every member and the use of all our Spirit-given gifts. It can’t be done with just the pastor or just the teacher. The body is a unit made up of many diverse parts.
Instead of dreaming of a world in which we are all the same, imagine what could happen if each of us by the Spirit’s power used our diverse gifts to the fullest extent possible in love for the Lord and His kingdom.
Lord, let it happen among us! Amen.
— Pastor Michael Eichstadt