The other day I was thinking about how much easier it was for me to make friends when I was kid. You like coloring? Disney cartoons? Great! Let’s be friends! Of course, the flip side to this is that it was just as easy to un-friend someone too. He’s a science geek and that’s not cool. She still wears the velcro strap sneakers when all the “big” kids have gone on to laces.
Now what’s supposed to happen is that we grow up, realize there’s more to people than what they eat or look like, and in other words, mature. But do we really? Sometimes when I look at the way different Christian ministries interact, it’s hard to believe that we’ve progressed very much from our 11-year old selves, scrutinizing each other, wondering if it’s worth considering the other person as a friend.
The Body is made up of different parts (duh)
I don’t know about you, but the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians always brings up particularly amusing imagery for me. Verses like “If the whole body were an eye…” sometimes causes my wild imagination to picture a giant eyeball trying to walk down the street, or eat a plate of spaghetti.
It is laughable and ridiculous at the same time. However, that passage has as important message that we as Christians would do well to learn from and it is this: We were made different, and this is not bad. Actually, it’s good, very good.
All parts were designed to work together
The reason we were made different isn’t some evil comedic plot designed by God so He can laugh at our frustration with one another. Rather, it’s that He’s got a master plan that has a lot of components, and we all have our specific roles.
The neat thing is that everything fits together in such a way that things work better and faster once we’re united in mission and purpose (which in case you didn’t know, is to spread the Gospel, advance God’s kingdom and make disciples of all nations).The trick is this, maybe instead of wondering why someone isn’t exactly like us, we should be looking to see how we can help and work with one another instead.
We need one another
One of the most beautiful things I’ve been able to witness over the past few years is seeing the body of Christ really come together at The University of Texas at Austin. The realization that we all have gifts that should be shared with others has led to amazing things like joint mission trips between campus ministries who once used to look at each other like they were the weird kid in school that no one wanted to sit with.
Ministries strong in prayer partner with those who are gifted in evangelism, others invite those gifted in teaching to guest speak at their meetings, the list goes on. A new sentiment has risen amongst those in ministry here, and it is this – we need one another. And this willingness to work together has led to many more lives being touched for Christ.
Looking to Jesus will always make us realize that no matter the differences, our focus (Christ) and uniting factor is the only reason we need to know that we could and should partner with other Christians around us. We are one body, with many parts. But always, the message remains the same: God loves us, Christ died for us, and we want to tell the world about Him.
So the question is, are we able to lay aside our differences for the sake of the Gospel? Or will our striving to be cool render us completely useless to His work?