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United Diversity in Christ

Today's Devotional

God has placed the parts in the body . . . just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:18

In his essay “Service and the Spectrum,” Professor Daniel Bowman Jr. writes of the difficulty of navigating decisions about how to serve his church as an autistic person. He explains, “Autistic people have to forge a new path forward every single time, a unique path that takes into account . . . mental, emotional, and physical energy . . . alone/recharging time; sensory inputs and comfort level . . . time of day; whether or not we’re being valued for our strengths and accommodated for our needs rather than excluded for perceived deficits; and much more.” For many people, Bowman writes, such decisions, “while reorienting people’s time and energy, likely will not undo them. Those same decisions might well undo me.”

Bowman believes that the vision of mutuality Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12 could be a healing solution. There, in verses 4-6, Paul describes God uniquely gifting each of His people for “the common good” (v. 7). Each is an “indispensable” member of Christ’s body (v. 22). When churches come to understand each person’s unique, God-given wiring and gifting, instead of pressuring everyone to help in the same way, they can support their members to serve in ways that fit their giftings.

In this way, each person can find flourishing and wholeness and be secure in their valued place in Christ’s body (v. 26).

How have you been blessed by others’ unique gifts? How can churches encourage diverse ways to serve?

Dear God, thank You for creating us all uniquely. Please help me to value every member of Christ’s body.


Paul couldn’t have chosen a better metaphor for the harmonious working together of the church than the human body. Instinctively, the members of our bodies work together for useful, purposeful living. Before commenting about body parts functioning differently according to design (1 Corinthians 12:14-26), the apostle elaborated on what believers in Jesus have in common (vv. 4-13). The same trinitarian God (“Spirit,” v. 4; “Lord,” v. 5; “God,” v. 6) is at work in and through the dynamic but different kinds of gifts, services, and workings in the church. The same Spirit at work in those with speaking gifts (v. 8) sovereignly manifests Himself through other gifts (vv. 9-10). “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit” (v. 11). Understanding our “spiritual sameness” liberates us to love, accept, and serve others who are different.

By |2024-04-24T02:33:05-04:00April 24th, 2024|
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