So Different Yet So Much the Same

So Different Yet So Much the Same

Recently I was called to jury duty selection. Perhaps you know the drill: You receive a letter telling you when and where to appear; you show up at the appointed time; you sit and wait and wait and wait until those that called you determine whether you are worthy to serve or not. Some are released while others are selected. Bada bing.

I am always observing and reading every situation/environment I find myself in, especially if other people are involved. I’m weird I know, but I always watch people to see what they do or how they react. Groups of people are always great sources for illustrations. For example:

1 Corinthians 12

At one point, during my jury selection encounter, the powers that be called out 40 names (there were over 100 of us stuffed in the room). Each name called was given an assigned seat number. I was among the fabulous forty.

We were told to sit in the required seat in order to receive our instructions. These instructions were given in about 5 minutes. Then we were told to remember our seat number but we could get up and move around the room until the group was called.

I immediately got up so I could roam around. A sitter I am not. This is when I observed this interesting phenomenon. We could move freely OR go get another seat with more arm and leg room. We did NOT have to stay as we were. BUT more that 90% of those numbered seat-sitters remained firmly planted in the assigned seat. Now, this is a government process. I knew full well that no one would come for us for an hour or two. I am sure these people knew this as well, but there they sat, elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder, “I shall not be moved.” I found this fascinating. So, I snapped the photo with my dumbphone.

Here were people of various ages, races, ethnicities, political views, and so on. They were as different as they could be by appearance and philosophy of life. But when it came to sitting in a government mandated environment, they were like Martin Luther: “Here I stand, I can do no other.” But they were more along the lines of, “Here I sit, I could do other but I shall not be moved.” They were exacty the same. Yes different, but the same.

1 Corinthians 12

I will leave the deep explanations of such phenomena to the sociologists. But I have always found it interesting that as different as we are, we are also remarkably similar as a species. If you attend church you will notice that the worship service will be filled with people who are amazingly different but each week they trod to the same seat they have sat in since the dawning of man.

So, is this a bad thing? I guess not. I suppose that somewhere in God’s hard-wiring of humanity He made us this way … amazingly different but possessing similar traits for given situations. There are some of us, like me I suppose, who have malfunctioned. I am among that rare and small number that “ain’t gonna” just sit somewhere that I was told to sit. I am a free bird.

As Christians we are remarkably the same but incredibly different as well. The Bible speaks of the various spiritual gifts God has given. We all have a mandate to serve (we’re the same) but we each have different God-given gifts and talents to use in that service. We are all the same, but we are amazingly different. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul spoke of this:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the sameGod who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Paul went on to add that no gift is more important than another. All gifts have their respective place in kingdom service. He also added in Romans 12:

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, beingmany, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry,let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

The point is a simple one. We are all different, but remarkably the same. As Christians we share a common mandate to serve; yet we do so in different capacities. No service is greater than another. Hmmm, so I suppose it’s okay to sit like a slug elbow to elbow in a warm room next to someone you don’t know for hours when you actually have the freedom to move. 🙂

And no … I wasn’t selected. YES!!!

I hope this has been a blessing to you.

Tony Guthrie

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