This weekend my husband and I went to the State Fair of Texas. Yes, I talked him into going. He doesn’t necessarily like to go to the fair, but I love it! I’m not exactly sure why I love it so much. Maybe it’s the corny dogs and funnel cakes. It could be the exhibits and the animals, but I’m pretty sure what I love the most is watching all the people.
Honestly, the State Fair is truly a bouillabaisse of humanity. The people converge from all different walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, occupations and ages. It is a joy to me to be observe God’s creative handiwork in the variety he has designed within the human species. Variety is the spice of life, don’t you agree?
Because we are quite varied and different, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate the personalities or ideas of the people in our lives. One person’s way of doing things may look different than ours, and so we become annoyed. A person does something that we don’t like or we don’t think is fair, and we become angry. Another person’s viewpoint differs from our own, and we bicker and argue with them. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to get along with people who are not exactly like us. If only everyone else were exactly like me, then I would get along perfectly well with everyone. Right?
Thank the Lord for the differences He has created! We don’t need a world full of a billion people just like me (Heaven help us). We need variety to get things done, to make businesses run, to grow and mature, to bring in a new perspective. This week I want to challenge you to appreciate the differences in the people around you. Take time to thank the Lord for the way each of your family members is different from you because they bring a variety of strengths to your family. Do the same for the people in your workplace. Build on each other’s strengths, manage around the weaknesses, and appreciate the differences instead of allowing them to frustrate you.
My dear friend, author Jody Capehart says, “God makes us different from one another so that we can rightly fulfill our own distinctive function. God consistently demonstrates to us that He creates us to be the garden variety, not canned green beans.”
We are continually reminded in scripture to “bear with each other.” In I Thessalonians 5 we read, “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
To be quite honest, it is not always easy to encourage the timid and help the weak and be patient with everyone. It takes perseverance and it certainly takes a God-sized love. Maybe that’s why Paul adds that we are to pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances! Look to the God of Love to give you what you need in loving those who are different from you.