Have you ever noticed the international flavor of the food court at your local mall? If it’s anything like ours, choices abound from all over the world. Italian, Chinese, Tex-Mex, Japanese, and Cajun. It’s a veritable United Nations for the taste buds.

Diverse origins, unique spices, specific tastes, they each appeal to different shoppers and satisfy varied culinary desires. Yet each restaurant works together to enrich our mall shopping experience. Not only do they share the same floor space in the mall, they often share seating area, signage, and condiment kiosks. Together they are the food court.

Church, Mall food courtLike the Church, the mall food court exemplifies unity within diversity. (Okay, I admit it. It is a bit of a “cheesy” example, but just go with it.)

Unified Diversity of the Body

Had the food court existed in the first century, Paul may have used it as an example himself. But instead, he was left with using the human body to illustrate the unified diversity of the Church. Here’s a taste from Paul’s writings.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, NIV

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:3-7, 11-13, NIV

One for All

God calls the church to complete unity even as each member fulfills her unique calling within the body. In fact, God purposefully joins a variety of individuals together for the common good of the body.

When we each operate from our diversity to serve others the entire body will also be working as a unified whole to grow the body and build the Kingdom of God.

Different gifts from the same Holy Spirit. Different work for the same God. Unique individuals unified by our one Lord, Jesus Christ.

No one but our great God could have designed that!

What examples of diversity within unity do you see in your own church?


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