Last post we focused on the corporate church situation. Now let’s bring this idea of celebrating diversity in the church down to a personal application. If you are like me, certain personalities rub you the wrong way. Certain individuals strike you as difficult people. In my former selfish approach, I usually avoided these people, hiding behind my introvert nature. But by God’s grace, I have opened up to the diverse variety of personalities that are the body of Christ. I have discovered that it is so easy to be blind to our own personality quirks but quick to notice something amiss in others.
Two things have happened as I have moved out of my comfort zone. First, my life has been enriched by this interaction. My church experience has a new fullness as I embrace all the personalities, gifts, and talents that make up the body. I see more value in other’s gifts. Just as we are often most comfortable with folks of our personality bent, we can also slip into the idea that giftedness like ours in not only most comfortable, but actually most valuable to the body. But when I read the Word it becomes clear: the body needs all the gifts.
The second result is that I am now more sensitive to and able to encourage my new friends. Certain personalities on both the quiet and loud end of the spectrum are unfortunately often avoided in our church situations and I believe we should go out of our way to draw these people in. A legitimate and felt need in our community of believers is to “know and be known”. And it is incumbent on us in the church to make sure this is happening. Can I encourage you? Go out of your way to befriend the person God brings in your path. Let your smile, body language, and greeting say, “I am glad you are here. I am glad I saw you this morning. I am glad you are in my life.”
You know, one of the things Jesus was accused of over and over again was that He was too inclusive. Let’s join Him in his inclusive message and actions and celebrate the diversity of His beautiful body – the church!