When you were a child, did you prefer to color inside the lines or outside? As you colored your picture, did you take great pleasure in insuring that the sky was blue and the grass was green? To be honest, I found the lines very constricting and even in life have been a bit of a free spirit. Much to my mother’s dismay who is so organized, I didn’t like it when she laid my cloths out for church on Saturday nights or put the perfect ribbon by my dress. I preferred to be spontaneous according to how I felt. The problem is if left to myself, I could have shown up in my ballet skirt or horse back riding clothes and my Mama always believed (and to this day believes) we must look our best to enter into God’s sanctuary.
It does not matter whether or not you are organized, prefer to color inside the lines or out, what matters is recognizing that God designed you just the way He desired. Embracing the fact that we are made in God’s image is step number one. The next step is appreciating and valuing our gifts, talents, and personalities not so that we can do our own thing, but in order to give God glory.
Take the account of Mary and Martha. Both of them get mixed reviews. Some say that Mary was lazy sitting at the feet of Jesus, and poor Martha had to do all the work. Others say Martha was so busy she did not give Jesus the time of day. But both Mary and Martha were dearly loved by Jesus. Though Jesus said that Mary was doing the “one needed thing” by sitting at His feet, we must note what He did not say. He did not say that Martha’s hard work in preparing the meal was unwarranted. His point was to remind us to not neglect our relationship worshipping Him because we are too busy serving Him. Serving Jesus sounds like the best thing to do, but actually service should come out of the overflow of sitting at HIs feet.
I remember one day as a child lying on my back outside of my home by our circular driveway, looking up at the sky. I even remember pausing to say how beautiful the clouds were both in color and in design. So many cloud designs. As they floated by, I heard my mother calling me inside to do my homework. I was busy coloring outside the lines with God and mother was certain that I would never finish elementary school at this rate. But she understood my natural Mary inclinations and came outside. She asked me what I was doing and we looked up at the clouds together. Then she walked me inside to insure I would go in and complete my homework assignments.
Friends, I am suggesting to you that we need to appreciate that we all have different personalities and interests (Moms raising kids listen up). Some of us are organized, others not. Some of us are procrastinators, others have their work done weeks in advance. The point is that we must have an appreciation for one another. My mother understood. She took the time to look through my eyes at the wonder of what I was seeing. She took the time to affirm that what I was doing was valuable, but also guided me to complete my homework. I have a sense in today’s upside down world that perhaps we have forgotten that we are all so very different. And yet it is through our differences that God paints a beautiful diverse and frankly much more interesting painting.
Paul described our uniqueness in the body of Christ in the following way.
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does it’s own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)
What strikes me in this passage in Ephesians, is the “so that”. I always like to look for the “so thats” in Scripture. So that… the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
It appears in today’s world and even in the body of Christ, that there is a lot of unhealthiness of spirit going around. We need one another. As the body of Christ, we need to depend on one another’s uniqueness. As each part does it’s own special work, Paul reminds us that the whole body is healthy and growing, So today, thank the Lord for your uniqueness and for that of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Together, the Holy Spirit is working giving us the opportunity to shine for Christ in our homes, workplace, city and in the world. But it takes appreciation of our diversity to recognize God’s beautiful painting.
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