Unity and Diversity?
I was blessed to be a part of a team at this last weekends MissionFest Manitoba. Anyone who has been, can attest to the vastness of those working to spread the gospel. The uniqueness of the callings and passions. The shear diversity in where the work is being done and how.
Unity in diversity. Such a powerful three words when we understand them. Diversity in the Church has often been associated with “cultural diversity” as in race, age, male, female, background, family structure and so on. While this is all diversity, it is not what scripture means when Paul says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1Cor 12:12). These many parts were not referring to cultural diversities. These were Spiritual diversities. Callings, talents, passions, functions, gifting’s, maturities. These are meant to compliment each other, “so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (vs 25). Yet why do we stand so divided in the organism of the Church. Why is the world so confused as to which Jesus is the right Jesus? Could it be because we desire to gather with all hands, or all feet, or all eyes? Could it be that we want to surround ourselves with those that think and agree with “ME” or that are passionate about the things I am passionate about? That we are a part of the body for ourselves and not each other? What are we missing?
Jesus says “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mar 3:24-25). I wonder often when this kingdom of ours will stand united. Scripture says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Rom 8:14-17). Co-heirs with Christ? Well what is our inheritance then? And who is our Father?
Papa, Daddy, Father, Abba.
My Father, your Father, our Father, who art in Heaven. And he is the ruler over all things of Heaven and of Earth. Doesn’t that mean that all of this world is ours and we have a responsibility to build it up for our Father? Build each other up and “encourage each other DAILY” (Heb 3:13). So that Jesus is confirmed as the scripture says “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22-23).
This is Jesus’ true heart that we may become “perfectly one” in order that He may be confirmed in the world. That our unity as an organism and not an organization, may prove to the world that Jesus was sent by God and that He loves us. No matter the denomination. As long as we profess that Jesus is our Lord and saviour, we all have a responsibility to each other. To recognize our uniqueness and how that builds the Kingdom we are all inheriting.
What would our kingdom look like, if we got behind each other? What if we started to recognize the uniqueness of each other’s callings, supporting with our time, talent and treasure? Not because we are passionate about where they are passionate and not because we completely understand their function, but because they are serving the same king as brothers and sisters?
Ask some hard questions this week. What can I do to build this kingdom of ours? What is my part? What are others doing and can I seek to understand them more, without needing to change them? Where can I relieve some of the burdens amongst my brothers and sister? Where am I responsible for dividing instead of building?
May we all be truly one, celebrating each other, encouraging each other, and above all else, bringing honor to our Father in Heaven who is completely worthy.