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Unity and Diversity

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV

unity and diversityThe conductor poised the baton between his thumb and pointer finger, raised his arms, and, with sweeping motions, bid the others to play. What I heard was unity and diversity.

The strings eased in first. Then the cellos hummed, and the violins joined as the melody built. The flighty flutes and clarinets also jumped right in. As the conductor’s movements widened, the brass instruments rang in the mix, followed by the pulsating percussions. And as all the sections swelled, each instrument came together to create a single orchestral piece.

The world abounds with illustrations of individual parts making up one whole.

Paul exemplified the human body—the eyes, hands, head, and feet. All parts compose one body. His analogy revealed the unity and diversity designed to characterize the body of Christ, the church. Division ruled in the Corinthian church. Many members experienced neglect and belittlement, while others considered themselves more important and valuable—all based on their spiritual gifts.

Paul defined the church as one body (not many bodies) made up of many members (not just one member or a few members). Just as the ears, feet, and mind serve important purposes, so do all the individual church members as they use their unique gifts and work together as one church. By flipping the illustration (“the body is one and has many members” plus “all the members of the body, though many, are one body”), Paul emphasized unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

Paul’s message still applies to churches. Each believer makes up one piece of the church. God has uniquely gifted each member to serve as the body of Christ together.

To function, the church needs every member faithfully serving—from the Sunday morning worship band to the coffee station cleanup crew. When a church operates together, division subsides. The body experiences the beauty of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

As the orchestra is one and has many sections, so is the body of Christ. Play your instrument. No matter your gift, use it for Christ and His church.

How can you do your part in God’s church?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Pexels.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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Jennifer Matenaer

Jennifer Matenaer is a freelance writer and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her husband serve in rural church revitalization in southwest Iowa. Read more from her at JenniferMatenaer.com.