Instead of being straight forward about it, Paul uses an analogy. He compares the spiritual gifts that we have been given to our bodies. The comparisons Paul makes with his analogies pertain not only to spiritual gifts but also to the body of Christ.
In today’s blog, I would like to share the first of three principles that the Apostle Paul teaches about unity in diversity. I believe these principles also apply to us as pastors and leaders who serve in the NY/NJ region.
One principle that the Apostle Paul makes about unity in diversity can be seen in verse 14. There, he tells us that the body is not made up of one part, but of many. These parts are not only numerous, but they are also diverse. Paul never explicitly declares that these parts are diverse. Instead, he makes sure that we know that they are diverse through a series of comparisons that he makes. For example, in verse 17 he asks, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? Of, if the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? Thus, without saying it outright, Paul makes clear to us that the various parts of the body are not only numerous, but they are also diverse.
Likewise, you and I are a diverse group of pastors and churches leaders. We all serve the same NY/NJ region, but each of us is different. For example, some of us are Chinese, others Korean, some are American-Born, others Overseas-Born; some old, others young, some serve urban ministries, others serve suburban ministries, some serve a denomination, others serve independent churches, and we all come from different backgrounds and traditions.
Differences can be seen either as a strength or a weakness. Diversity can be seen as a strength when we see our differences as something that gives us a greater ability to reach groups of people that would be unreachable otherwise. On the other hand, diversity can be seen as a weakness if we see our differences as a reason to divide and an excuse to work independently of one another.
How do you view diversity? Would you consider it a strength or do you see it as a weakness? How we view diversity, greatly impacts how we do ministry.