Uniqueness in diversity

It is often interestingly sad to note how many people always confuse and negate the importance and place of diversity in our lives. Most people, from interactions, think that diversity is a bad thing! Well, today I want to attempt to demystify this very central reality. It is actually true that we ourselves are a true picture of diversity. We have bodies that have various parts, each of which is adapted to a different distinct function. The functionality of the respective parts cannot be similar because that is simply not what they were made for. In our natural design, we depict diversity. Yet there is a lot of unity in the way all the parts work together to fulfill the general good of the body as a whole. Whenever there is a problem with any part of the body, the entire system is wired such that it “stops” to ensure that everything is done to alleviate the issue and bring the whole of the body back to optimal functionality. And the body has an amazing way of  readjusting itself. It operates in such a way that every anomaly detected has to be acted upon with the necessary solution on the way… That’s why you hear that someone is not feeling well; and then they have to get rest or some prescription. Once this is done, one gets better and the whole body system comes back to normalcy again.

uniqueWhen I went to University back in Kenya, we defined the university as a place where there is “unity in diversity”. That may have become the closest that I have experienced and appreciated of how similar we are yet very far distant from one another. For instance, we were students from all walks of life and had simply come there for study. Thus, the central reality is that we were students pursuing varied fields of study; yet we had different stories that defined us. There were those who were from extremely rich families, those from the middle class and those from extremely poor backgrounds. One interesting thing though is that no one could tell the background of someone just by looking at their faces without getting to know them. And so, the students had a way of communication; a manner in which only they could understand; hence their similarities. They could appreciate the academic frustrations that they were going through; and could connive together to get a way out fighting a common enemy. At the same time, they all had different ways of thinking… All of these students remain to be unique in their own ways achieving their different goals and objectives at the end of their tenures at the institution of higher learning.

Looking at God Himself; we see diversity. That very God who exists in three with each person of the Trinity playing a significant role in our lives yet solidly one! The Genesis 1 account shows that He created lots of animals; all of different kinds. The trees were also of different kinds; there are no two things that He made which were basically the same. And even in creating man; He had to create female and male, different yet equal before Him. That should at least say something to us about the place of diversity in His kingdom.

In His quest to reach out to His people, God used different people with different endowments to fulfill His purposes. He used Moses, a stammerer, yet a great leader, a person with great humility and patience… He reached out to Abraham, a polytheists, yet a man with great faith, from Him we get all the nations. That is why Abraham is the father of the nations. He used Joseph, a showy young timid man, yet a great planner and orderly strategist, who saved the whole of the known world then. He uses Rahab, a harlot to save Israel’s spies. And this woman appears in the lineage of the Savior of the world!! đŸ™‚ God surely has a great sense of humor!! He did not only use the strong but also used the weak. Actually in His ways, He kept contravening the norms of man. He set a mark of quality on those things that seemed unqualified in the eyes of man!! Thus, He shows that all people are necessary in His Kingdom. He uses all; and does not discriminate. If anything, He chooses those He desires; yet ensures that diversity is kept and maintained.

diversityGod doesn’t expect us to be the same. He actually expects us to be ourselves so as to fully accomplish the plans that He has for each of us. In Him we get to be ourselves! And that is best achieved by stopping the business of wanting to be other people. If only we could look deeper and see the great treasures that He has endowed us with. We have so much; that if we only knew, then we won’t be so much amassed in the comparison sequel. We will actually not look up to the celebrities to set the agenda in the fashion world but instead we’ll choose to remain distinct. We won’t be so taken up by the trends in the movie world; speaking like the entertainment bigwigs and stars, but just be ourselves. I think it is much better to become a carpenter and a great carpenter than to become an engineer and a struggling engineer. Why frustrate myself with the thoughts that won’t necessarily lead me to getting fully fulfilled?

I like the quote in a movie Coach Carter that “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”. And this is true; we are able to do so much, and we have the power within us. Paul says that he “can do all things through Christ who gives us strength” (Philippians 4.13). And furthermore, He is able to “do immeasurably more than we could ask or think, according to His power that is at work within us!” (Ephesians 3:20). We have this power at work within us; let us go out and keep shining, releasing the very light we were created to release. And let’s blossom even the more…

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The discipline of time

15Time is an all important resource. It is so precious that wasting it is inevitably a great injustice. Every person does whatever they do within a given timespan. That is why we talk of birth, marriage and even death. Further, we get defined agewise based on the time we’ve spent on the face of the earth. Additionally, the history and essence of our being is assessed in terms of time. Time is so central, such that to talk of days and nights, seasons and moments, we still have to consider time. I guess this is why the Preacher emphatically states that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” in Ecclesiastes 3:1. Time tends to circumvent everything under the sun. And from the text above, there is nothing under heaven that can happen unless at a given time… This is additionally reiterated in Ecclesiates 3:17 when the author expands his discussion even to touch on God‘s judgment for “the righteous and wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work“. Thus, God appoints specific happenings within specific timelines on the face of this earth. And this takes place in His own way, that is why He makes everything beautiful in its own time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Time should, therefore, be redeemed and utilized well. It shouldn’t be prodigally spent. Instead, the seasons ought to be understood for an effective living. I tend to like what the sons of Issachar are remembered for. They “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). The fact that many things tend to happen around and within us, doesn’t necessarily mean that they ought to happen that way. I cherish this singular gifting of discerning when the various things in one’s life ought to happen. I imagine that the sons of Issachar had the responsibility to tell the Israelites what they were to do and when. Isn’t it awesome just to know, when you are to do everything that relates to your life? That actually comes by being connected with the giver of the very time, God.

As I write on this, I must state that I haven’t been the best at it at all! I have had my own struggles with time. Like, I have grappled with when I am to go to bed and consequently wake up. When I am to have my personal devotion and moments of reflection. When I am to visit friends and when I am to have my “me” time. The various struggles have opened my eyes to the beauty of adjusting and learning by observing. I have observed several people here in Trondheim and how they keep their appointments and even harness their interactions with people. And I agree that the discipline I have noted is quite impressive!! Norwegians are generally great timekeepers. In fact, every time I am with them, I feel like I need to keep sitting down and learn from them on this very pertinent matter.

Being both a spiritual gift and a cultural factor, it is very crucial for one to take all the necessary steps in adapting the crucial discipline of keeping time. Thus, in order to keep my various appointments, I have had to adjsut the clock such that it is always ahead. It sounds funny and wierd but it has really come through for me. I was just joking with one of my new friends that I have no choice but to have my alarm clock ahead by about one hour. This has, therefore, given me the time to prepare and catered for all the times I do snooze the clock before finally waking up. My phone clock has remained 10 minutes ahead so as to get to the bus stop on time; and to avert the bad behavior of running after the bus. The keeping of time is culturally observed as being at the core of expressing one’s respect for the other person in Norway. And I think that this also makes God happy just to know that His own children are taking good care of the resource they have freely received from Him. When Paul writes to the Ephesians and asks them to “redeem the time for the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16), I believe he had the sound intention of reminding the believers to make the best use of every time they have as they live in this evil world. This was to evidently indicate the centrality of time and to depict the brevity of man’s life as stated in James 4:14; Psalms 89:47-48, 39:5.

I am convinced that the conclusison of the matter is that we are to serve God fully within the short time that we have to live on earth. In this line, we should enhance our relationship with Christ and appreciate that He remains to be the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).