Archive for February, 2010

Unity through Differences…

Roadtrip          For me, last week was a week of involvement with kids. On Tuesday I conducted the chapel message for a group of 5th through 8th grade kids at our school. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed interacting with the students and feeding off their enthusiasm. I spoke to them about differences between people and how God created all of us to be unique. Too often we allow the differences we find in others as reasons to separate ourselves rather than exploring and understanding what makes them different. When you think about it, the world would be a pretty boring place if everyone was alike.

          One of the first things I did with the kids for an ice breaker was to ask them to form two groups. Much to my surprise all of the girls went to one group and the boys the other. Basic difference! Wow, it’s been quite some time since I was in grade school and I had almost forgotten the social parameters of that age group. They are growing up in a time that has changed drastically from decades before. When I was their age we were still watching black and white TV with rabbit ear antennas trying to negotiate a less than fuzzy picture on one of the three stations we had to choose from. (There seemed to be more to watch than I can find on the several hundred stations of today.) People generally had one car, soda and milk came in glass bottles, there was one movie at the cinema that ran for three days, gasoline was pumped by the filling station attendant (who also would check under the hood and clean your windshield) and kids played outside after school. Life was somewhat different then but the challenges of interpersonal relationships may be much the same.

          On Saturday we ventured back to Maryland to watch the grandkids play basketball. It’s slightly ironic but one thing that has changed is teams that consist of both boy and girl players. Hold the phone, doesn’t this violate the laws of nature concerning the social protocols for that age. Maybe we are bridging the difference gap after all. This could take some getting used to. In my day it would have been hard to show your face after having your shot blocked by a girl. Maybe some old ideas need to be changed. Perhaps the world would be a better place if we all tried to find the good woven amongst the differences we find in others. Most of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments, however Jesus condensed them all in to just two. (Matt. 22:37-39) Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It’s a very simple formula for what can be a very rewarding lifestyle.

          Our great difficulty on Saturday was cheering for two teams in the same game. You see we had a grandchild on each team so we were the recipients of excitement on both ends of the court. It was great watching both of them learn the game of basketball especially at the considerate direction of both of their coaches, my two sons. As our family (including my mom and dad) hoarded most of the seats at one end of the arena, I thought about the terrific opportunity we have to pass on values to each “next generation”. We had four generations present at one kids basketball game representing a lot of memories and marking the passing of time.

          We are all unique. Our situations are unique, our family structures are unique, our spiritual gifts are unique and God’s purpose for each of us is special in His great plan. He calls for us to compliment each other by using our differences for the greater good. We are meant to fit together like a pieces of a puzzle. Even when we disagree, He grants us the ability to be one in unity. This miraculous commodity can only be found in the center of His grace. Not by striving to make it so, only by accepting that it is so.