“Differences Don’t Have To Divide”
This morning as I was making coffee, I heard a thought go through my mind. Differences don’t have to divide. The thoughts ran through my head that my husband likes to drink instant coffee and I like mine made in an old fashion percolator that you put on a burner and wait for the coffee to “perk” through the filter. I love the smell of the coffee as it cooks and ambiance that the smell creates in my kitchen as I make OUR coffee. At the same time my coffee is percolating in the pot I have a kettle that is on a different burner with just water in it. I put out two cups and prepare his with the instant coffee, sugar and creamer that he likes. I put sugar and the creamer I like in my cup. Both cups awaiting that hot liquid to mix with what is in the cups to make a finished product of “coffee”. They both usually finish about the same time and I mix them both and take my husband his and WE sit and drink OUR coffee TOGETHER. Now, at times I will drink his type of coffee and from time to time he will drink my kind. It depends on the mood, but one thing came to my mind this morning, even though our coffees are different, and they have a different process of production we both end up with the same result. We both end up with a cup of coffee that we enjoy TOGETHER. That is the main thing, that we take this journey together even if our avenues are different at times. When we sit together and drink our coffee, we do not talk about how different our coffee is or how much we like our coffee better than the other’s coffee. We simply enjoy our individual cups of coffee and talk and share our thoughts, feelings and our lives. We find peace in those moments spent with our cup of coffee together even though our coffee is different.
It came to me that this was a reflection of our walk with God as well. My walk with God is not going to be exactly like your walk with God, but just because my walk is different than yours doesn’t give US the right to judge each other’s walk. As long as we are serving our Lord Jesus with our whole heart and we are walking in the truth of His gospel, then the pace we walk at or the method we use to reach him should not be a point of division. Now, wait, I hear that voice. No, I am not talking about standards of dress, nor am I talking about lifestyles. I am talking about Relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Dress, Doctrine, Lifestyles. That is covered by the word of God and we should all adhere to what God has set forth in HIS word. I am talking about relationship. That intimate moment you spend with God that draws you closer to him and into his presence. That moment in time where it is just you and Him and you are all alone in a crowded room and you smile just because you know He is there with you and you feel His presence. Just like my husband and I sitting on the porch at 5 am drinking coffee. It’s not about the type of coffee we are drinking. It is about the intimacy that is shared in drinking a cup of coffee together. Our approach to reaching that “cup of coffee together” may be different but the main thing is the time spent together drinking that coffee. Same with our intimate times with our Lord. A personal relationship with God is exactly that, a personal relationship with God. I find intimacy with him in praying and time alone. My husband finds intimacy with him in music and meditation. Our approach may be different but we both have a close relationship with God. In the end we find that our relationship with each other is stronger and closer because of our intimacy with God alone and as a couple. This works because we don’t allow the difference in how we find intimacy with God to divide us on the intimacy we have with him as a couple. As a matter of fact, the fact that we respect each other’s approach to God allows us to be freer in our relationship with each other and with God as a couple. It’s an avenue of expressing our love for each other in learning what works for the other and giving that gift of understanding that allows us to grow stronger not only in our walk with God but with each other.
The thought came to me as I heard this play out in my mind, that this concept is not only true in marriage but in other relationships in our lives as well. When God sends us to speak to someone or when we are doing outreach, God gives us discerning of spirit and gives us common sense. We must be sensitive to others as we attempt to reach them. You never know what they need emotionally or mentally to allow trust to begin to grow. God will guide us in this area if we are open to His voice and allow him to. In our church family, in our community, on our jobs or even in the grocery store we build relationships. These relationships have boundaries that are suited for the arena we are in, (church, work, etc.) and we must be respectful of these boundaries. However, when God shows us a person that He would have us to speak to, we must be mindful of the person and their reaction or response to our approach. This is where that intimacy with God is vital. It must be his voice and his words that come through us to the person and that guide our actions in these encounters. We can not allow our differences with this person to hinder the final destination that God has for our conversation. We need to be sensitive to the Spirit of God and allow Him to lead us. We walk the agape love of God to flow through us to others so that they may know Jesus. He is the main thing in this equation. It doesn’t matter how I came to God or how you came to God. All that matters is that we both have a strong, intimate relationship with Him. The differences in our walk can’t be allowed to hinder our relationship with Jesus.
This just came to mind. We are all God’s children. Whether we are obedient or disobedient we are all still his children. We are different in many ways, but He loves us all just the same. He came to earth in the form of the man Jesus Christ and he died on the cross for all of our sins. He loves each of us and has loved each of us before he even said, “let there be light.” Because he knows the end to the beginning. It is the same with our children. They are all different in their own way, but we love them. We want the same end result for them, but we must understand that they all have to take (find) their own path to that expected and desired end. For example, my oldest son walked with he was 9 months old and crawled after he learned to walk. My second son didn’t walk until he was almost a year old. He was 11 ½ months old. They both learned to walk which was the expected and desired end but they both did it at their own pace. I was supportive of them both in their endeavor to learn to walk. I encouraged them, instructed them, held their hands and helped them in the same manner, but they still learned to walk at their own pace. I was not frustrated with them for learning to walk at different ages. I just realized the difference in them and allowed them to move at their own pace. The point is, in the end they both learned to walk. It is the same when we are helping someone come to the Lord Jesus or that is new in their walk. When we are helping someone grow to know Jesus better, we can encourage them, instruct them on doctrine, hold their hands in prayer, support them when times get hard, walk with them and help them but we can’t rush them or try to make them do it our way. They will fall more than walk if we do not allow them to grow in a way that works for them. We can’t let the fact that they drink instant coffee and we percolate ours slowly hinder the fact that we are both drinking coffee. (so to speak) We are no different than them in that we are seeking the same end result. A true relationship with Jesus.
As I am writing this the scripture 1 Corinthians 12:21-23 comes to mind. It says: And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. When I first read this scripture years ago when I was a babe in Christ, I thought how wonderful is this scripture that the “body of Christ” would need me, but immediately on the heals of that thought it came to me what would they ever need me for, I am the least of these. I need them more than they need me. Then I heard in the back of my mind, touch your pinky toe. I laughed thinking, “what?” I asked the Lord if he just told me touch my pinky toe, and I heard his voice say yes. I laughed as I did it but as I leaned to touch my pinky toe Jesus made me very aware of the fact that I first had to sit down (which took my whole body), then I had to bend down and reach my arm so my hand could touch my pinky toe. (which took my whole body again). As my fingers touched my pinky toe, I heard in my mind, you may be the pinky toe on the body of Christ but if you hurt the whole body feels it. Every member of the body is important, and we must love and be Christ like towards them. This is fulfillment of “love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” The thing we sometimes forget is that we don’t know every single member of the Body of Christ so we must show forth kindness and agape love towards everyone so ensure we fulfill this scripture. Just a thought. You never know, you may be helping the pinky toe of the Body of Christ grow and learn to walk at their own pace but trust me if that pinky toe is hurt, the whole body is affected. So As we walk forward today, we must keep in mind that just because we see others walking differently toward God than we are, as long as they are walking in truth then we need to help them keep walking at their own pace and not be a hinderance to them reaching the end goal of being in heaven with Jesus. I pray this helps you as much as it helped me. May our Lord Jesus watch between me and thee until we speak again. God bless you.
Just a little food for thought from the desk of: