Article by: Larry Davis
Student Director at The Journey Church
I have played football all my life. I really began to take it more seriously during high school. We had a very solid team with many skilled players that brought something special to the table week in and week out. Our motto was something similar to the majority of other sports team– we are one team. This created a sense of togetherness as we pondered on the fact that there are no superstars, just a body of hungry athletes working together toward the same goal. I think the same is true in our walk with Christ, but with an understanding that we are one team; however, we are a diverse team. Although, we point to the back of our jersey to show Christ’s name, may we do this while being fully aware of who is underneath the helmet.
I am a young African-American male who, by the grace of God, absolutely loves Jesus! I am one of two black men who serve on our staff team of thirteen members. What our team does really well is fully embrace our race and celebrate it. We never hear statements, such as “I don’t see color” or “I don’t see you guys as black, but as brothers.” Instead, they celebrate these things and they can easily see the reach within our ministries. They know that the Lord has “knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13) intentionally creating me exactly how He wanted me.
How do we refrain from bashing or ignoring diversity? Here are 3 markers that shape my posture of approaching this, and I pray it will do the same for you.
- The Gospel Connects Us
My heart is fenced by God’s grace. Whenever I grow indifferent about working with a specific person or excluding a group of people, I am faced with the reality that we have ALL fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); Jesus is the ONE and ONLY way to eternal life (John 14:6) ; and I was saved by grace alone instead of my works (Ephesians 2). My heart is then softened and pushed to build relationships and share the Gospel with EVERYONE because knowing the Gospel is the most important thing in this world that is for every person in this world. Sin is the common denominator of all man and Christ is the only cure. Let this be the focus of every spontaneous first-time encounter to every intentional relationship.
- God’s Love Unites Us
My love for others must be grounded in God’s love. All, except the prideful and know-it-alls, will be quick to look at the manual before they build something. They do this because they would rather seek the creator of this particular item so they can know exactly what to do, step by step. In the same way, we must understand that God does not only show and provide love, but He IS love (1 John 4:8). We are commanded to love God with all we have and to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We must be consuming the foundation of love in order to properly (biblically) love our neighbors with a love that is selfless, patient, kind, forgiving, and truthful (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). This love helps us to be “like-minded” as Paul tells us in Philippians 2:2 so that we may be united in Christ. Disclaimer: If you are a prideful know-it-all, please see point number one.
- Heaven Gathers Us
What do we expect Heaven to be like? I begin to wonder if we actually view Heaven as a bunch of divided areas where we will never cross paths. Do we believe that we will all worship God individually in our own lane? We will be united with zero desire to be distant from each other. Our hearts will be completely healed of all hatred and evil. Our minds will be completely fixed on the glory of God. We will be gathered TOGETHER in the presence of God for ETERNITY. Regardless of our race, for those of us who are in Christ, we will worship the Lord forever in unity. If this is true for eternity in Heaven, let’s practice and celebrate it here for the years to come. Our affections toward each other now should resemble what they will be in Heaven forever.