But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
Read: Esther 4:1-7:10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-26, Psalm 36:1-12, Proverbs 21:21-22
Relate: I love to read. I love to write. I enjoy preaching and teaching. I get really passionate about issues of social justice. If you want to get me riled up, feel free to start me talking about modern slavery or the need for the West to open up their doors wider for refugees. I am a sports fan. Since coming to Turkey I have narrowed my interests to Syracuse Basketball, the Yankees, NY Red Bull and Real Madrid for football. (Don’t call that American joke of a sport football around me) I wear a lot of Besiktas and will cheer for them but I can’t really call myself a true fan. I love worship music but most people do not love listening to me sing it (and I am not gifted on any instruments). I love hiking, camping, mountain climbing, and stuff like that but I need to live in the city. I tried country living and couldn’t move back into civilization quick enough. These are some of the things that make me tick.
When it comes to movies, I really can’t stand comedies or chic flicks. “Reality” shows, shopping, and anything to do with fashion trends will only make me yawn. Neither people driving around in circles really fast or old men hitting tiny white balls into little holes qualify as sports. While on the subject, no true sport should be played on ice. I have absolutely no interest in accumulating vast amounts of money. My definition of modern art is some people conning other people into paying exorbitant amount of money on something an eight year old could create while throwing a temper tantrum. These are some of the things I just don’t get.
React: I am guessing that most of you would gladly switch out some of the things on my “likes” or “dislikes” list with preferences of your own. I would even venture to say that one or two of you might even come close to completely switching one list with the other. There’s got to be someone out there who loves their hockey and their pottery barn catalogs. They can’t stand the city and have dumped millions into their home in the distant suburbs Podunkville, Kentucky. It doesn’t matter. We belong together as a family. God loves you with all your quirks and quibbles just as much as He loves me with my excellent and refined tastes. He might even love you Red Sox fans a little more since extra grace is required to do so. His body, His church is made up of all different parts. We all have different passions, talents, and interests and we have them for a reason. He has given them for us to use for His glory.
The problems come when I begin to think that everybody in the church should have the same passions that I have. I am here with my love of history and theology thinking that everybody should have a good grasp on the theological differences between Irenaeus, Ignatius, and Athanasius. The person next to me is wondering, “Are those places Paul visited during his missionary journeys? The Bible is the only book we need to read.” The American church is debating singing more hymns vs modern songs while my Muslim convert still can’t get over the fact we sing at all in church. “This is a place for prayer, not a disco. By the way, why are your shoes still on?” We have all been given passions and talents for a reason and we need to be using them for the glory of God. We should not be using them to beat each other over the head with them. Our variety, our differences, is what makes the body so beautiful. We need to learn to work through our differences while still living in unity.
Help me to distinguish between my personal preferences and Your universal purposes. I know there are certain things that should be part of every Christian’s DNA. There are other things that You have gifted in some but not others. Give me the wisdom to recognize the difference and be willing to give ground on the latter while holding tightly to the former. Help me to use and foster my gifts, but even more help me to draw out the gifts hidden in others. Above all, help me to walk in love and unity with all who are a part of Your Body.