When the Continental Congress was gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Benjamin Franklin told the delegates, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." What was he talking about? He was talking about unity. They had to be unified in attaining their goal -- cutting their political ties to England -- or they would be destroyed. They were men from 13 different colonies, with different lives, different financial interests, etc., but they banded together for a common purpose.
As the Church, we also have a common purpose, and that is to glorify Jesus Christ. But we're not all alike as people. We're very different, and we have all been given different gifts and talents by God. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says, "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all."
God loves variety and we ought to as well. God has put variety throughout His creation. So it is in the body of Christ. There are a variety of different people with different backgrounds and with different gifts.
In verse 11, we are told Who is controlling the variety. "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills." This tells me that the Church is all about what He wills and what He wants. It's His Church. Church is about us participating in getting His will accomplished. He is the One Who controls the variety.
And look at verse 12. "The body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body." We are to recognize the beautiful, diverse variety in the body of Christ. At the same time, we are to emphasize unity and here's why. If we just emphasize the first part and not the second part, the body will be out of whack and it's going to malfunction. We all have to be going in the same direction, or potentially every member could be out there doing its own thing, creating division rather than unity.
If you have unity without variety, you have uniformity and that's boring. If you have variety without unity, you have anarchy. The answer is found throughout the chapter: "the same Spirit," "the same Lord," "the same God." Christ is the head. He's giving the orders. And following His Lordship is the only way we can "hang together" as the Church.
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