As my three sisters sang beautifully at church on a Sunday morning, I was jealous. As the youngest by far, I was just a little boy, far too short to reach the microphone. And I was too young to understand why I couldn’t sing with them. Why wasn’t I invited to join them? Didn’t I have a pretty voice? So… I escaped my parents’ grasp, waddled up onto the stage, and belted out whatever off-key tune I could manage. I didn’t even know the words! I’m sure the audience was amused. Of course, the youngest of my three sisters went on to develop her musicianship to even greater heights; she became a professional violinist. Meanwhile, if I’m honest, I don’t even remember what a “chord” is. My sisters got the “musical gene,” but I did not.
All of us are different. And that is wonderful. Paul pictures life in the church like this: we are like different body parts joined together in one body. Some of us are “ears,” and some of us are “noses.” But just as little me wished he could join his sisters in singing, many of us wish we had different abilities and gifts. Maybe the “ears” wish they were “noses” instead. Even as an adult, I’ve found myself wishing I had this or that ability, longing to be far “better” or more “useful” than I am. But as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 12:17, if the whole body was the same, it could only do one thing. Then we come to this week’s Fighter Verse:
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. (1 Corinthians 12:18 ESV)
You are unique because God made you that way. Sometimes I wish I was better with my hands or with numbers or whatever the case may be, but the truth is that I am exactly how God made me. He wanted me to be like this for His purpose and for His glory. So there should be no shame in how I enjoy serving. And He put me in a church with other people different from me who have unique perspectives and gifts.
Creation makes it very clear that God loves diversity. He invented about 5,000 species of mammals, 10,000 species of birds, 30,000 species of fish, 175,000 species of butterflies, 250,000 species of flowers, and 400,000 species of beetles. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond Earth, we have discovered over 3000 other planets in just a tiny circle around our part of the galaxy — including exotic planets like entire worlds made of diamond or water. And that’s to say nothing of the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, or the tens of thousands of other galaxies just in our little corner of the known universe. Make no mistake: God loves diversity. And yet all of this diversity is interwoven together in a unified tapestry declaring His glory.
Likewise, we as Christians with our unique backgrounds, personalities, longings, and gifts are knit together to form a glorious harmony, the body of Christ. He cares about both the pattern (“God arranged the members in the body”) and about each individual thread (“each one of them”). God is telling us in this Fighter Verse that He delights in creating unity through diversity. He picked out every single one of us, and He has given each of us a unique role to play. Notice the phrase “as He chose:” you are part of God’s cosmic sovereign plan for His church. He picked you for His team so you can use the unique talents He gave you. So thank God for making you… you.
QUESTIONS TO ASK EACH OTHER:
- How does this verse make you feel? How does it make you feel about God and your place in the church?
- How does this verse put to death the lie that you are “inferior” to other people, or that you are “less gifted” than others in the church?
- On the flip side, how can this verse humble us if we’re “proud” of ourselves and our accomplishments in ministry?
- We often want other people to think and act exactly like us. How does this verse help us to celebrate diversity instead of championing uniformity?
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CHILDREN:
- God made you unique and different. Think of a brother, sister, or friend. How are the two of you different from each other?
- How do you like to help people? Can you think of a different way to help someone that someone else might like instead?
- Not everyone likes to help people in exactly the same way. Why is that a good thing?
- How do we treat people who are different from us? How does God treat them?