Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-31, Exodus 19:5-6, James 1:18
I work with a truly spectacular group of people, but we don’t always see eye to eye.
Jessica, for example, is fiercely protective of words, watching over grammatical details like comma placement and hyphen length with laser-like focus. Ryan, I’m convinced, will defend the creative integrity of the She Reads Truth brand as long as he has breath, and Abby has yet to sit through a meeting without bringing to our attention the needs and desires of you, the Shes who read Truth with us. We all have different jobs, and sometimes it is our job to disagree.
Raechel and I learned this early on in working together, back when it was just the two of us: seeing things differently is a gift to be stewarded, not a tension to be avoided. Today there are eighteen of us at SRT headquarters, each bringing different skills and perspectives to the conference room table. But we are a team. We are here for each other, for the work set before us, and for you. Above all, we are here to hold out God’s Word and bring glory to Him. Our differences help, not hinder, this pursuit.
It’s easy for me to see God’s provision in the differences among our team members. But I’m embarrassed to admit that I often expect homogeneity in the Church. I find myself frustrated by our differences, bothered that we can’t all agree on large and small aspects of our faith and life as followers of Jesus. I’m saddened when these differences go beyond disagreements to cause division, and discouraged when these divisions are not easily overcome. I forget that God’s Word and perfect wisdom are not diminished by our limited understanding or altered by our various opinions.
In his letters to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul encourages this congregation of young believers to embrace their common and primary identity in Christ. He desires for them to know and act on the truth that “we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body” and “we were all given one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13). The image of the Church as one body appears throughout these letters, making clear Paul’s resounding declaration: We are many, but we are one in Christ.
Even here, in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, we can sense Paul fighting for the unity of the Church. His tone is somber, even harsh at times, because the topic is not casual; it is critical. God has welcomed us—different as we are, different as we are designed to be—into His family through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. He did not call us because we are wise or powerful or strong. Rather, Christ Jesus “became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). We are part of this fellowship by grace alone, and it is by grace that we live and grow in unity with one another.
As you read 1 & 2 Corinthians, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see the Church all around you. Ask Him to teach you more about Himself, His body of believers, and the truth of His Word. Like the church at Corinth, we come to this text from a colorful array of backgrounds, experiences, and traditions. But we have a Savior who binds us. May His mercy and grace unite us as we read.