June 20, 2024

I was teased quite frequently when I was in middle school. I was ridiculed for having a girl's first name, for having a last name that rhymed with nerd (& turd!), for getting good grades, for being smaller than most everyone else, for wearing glasses, and so much more.

But I was picked on for those things because they were different from my peers. The boys in my class didn't have a female first name. No one else (except my brother) had the last name of Bird. My height was different (AKA shorter) than even the girls. I was teased because I was different.

So I grew up thinking different was bad. I wanted to be liked, so the natural conclusion in my prepubescent brain was that I had to be like everyone else in order to avoid being mocked. I needed the same shoes, watch the same movies, listen to the same music, and be in the same sports as everyone else so that I could avoid the Spotlight of Scoffing.

Yet my mistaken belief that uniformity brought safety kept me from seeing something beautiful.

The Beauty of Different

Last week, we began to dive into our main passage for this One Body series, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. Last week, we looked at verses 12 and 13, which talk about the unity of the Body of Christ (the Church). But this week, we see that unity does not equal uniformity.

Different • Riverwood Church

In verses 14-20, we hear God say through the Apostle Paul quite clearly that the Body of Christ is comprised of different parts. In fact, Paul humorously uses hyperbole to point out that the whole body can't be just an eye or a foot. Just as the beauty in the human body is found in its various parts, the beauty of Christ's Body is found in the truth that it has different parts.

Meaning, your spiritual gifts and talents, which make you different than others, aren't cause for mockery, rather should be cause for celebration! Like a mosaic receives its beauty through the various individual pieces, your differences—when aimed in the direction of unity and is motivated by love—make the church stronger, healthier, and lovelier.

So if you are a follower of Jesus, don't be like middle school Erin who (unsuccessfully) tried to look and act like everyone else. Let God use your unique gifts and talents and experiences to help others understand and appreciate the grace of God.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

We are on a mission to help people love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

It doesn't matter to us if you:

  • are a Wartburg student or a grandparent,
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  • make $100,000/yr. or wonder how you're going to pay rent this month,
  • or fear your past mistakes make you unlovable to God or others.

No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, we want to help you become who God has created you to be.

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