...for all of you...
Thoughts for Today:This can be a hard one. Paul didn't say as I might, "And I thank God for Rob, Ty, Jack and John...and not so much for the rest of you [just kidding]." Rather he said, "I thank God for all of you." In Romans 12:4-5, Paul deals with the body of Christ -- that's all of us: "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Clearly Paul really got it -- he understood that our differences should be celebrated not criticized or ridiculed. In his letter to the church at Corinth Paul writes, "If the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?" (1 Corinthians 12:16-17).
The challenge is not as much to philosophically understand this concept as it is in the difficulty of application. Why? Because we have a tendency to choose team members the same way we do our friends -- based upon what we have in common, not our differences. Imagine how poor a basketball team would be if it were made up only of players who could dribble and shoot from the perimeter. Who would rebound? Think about it related to our own physical bodies -- some parts like the eyes, may get a little more recognition than the kidneys, but try living without kidneys -- you wouldn't last very long no matter how well you could see. The same is true in the body of Christ -- and Paul understood this with crystal clarity -- it's why he thanked God for ALL of you!
Questions to Ponder:Look around you: Who is in your small group? Who attends your Bible study? Do they look, think and act just like you? I hope not because some of my greatest growth as a Christian has been because of my relationships with people not in my economic bracket, who weren't raised like me, who were much older, or conversely much younger. The next time you have a chance, develop a relationship with a Christian brother or sister who is as different from you as the east from the west -- you will be blessed!