The Weekly Word: The beauty in diversity
By Pastor Matt Howlett, First Baptist Church, Charles City
Last summer my teenage son and I went to a Willie Nelson concert down in Cedar Rapids. The weather was beautiful, the music amazing and it was an all-around great night.
Willie is such an icon of the music industry, with decades of hits and fans that range from senior citizens to young children.
Of course, one of the things Willie is known for in addition to musical talent is his long history of recreational marijuana use. While neither my son nor I took part in any of those activities there was certainly some of that going on as well.
Despite not being part of my typical crowd, we were able to have fellowship and enjoy the music all together. The sounds of Willie Nelson bring all types of people together.
The next morning, I was back in Charles City for a meeting of the Floyd County Substance Abuse Coalition. Definitely a very different crowd from the night before!
While it was two very different groups of people with very different objectives, it was a blessing to be a part of both. I was able to spend time experiencing quite different ways of life and ideas while staying true to myself and my identity as a child of God.
Jesus gives us the greatest example of reaching out to people no matter what their background or what society said about them. Jesus ministered to everyone He encountered, whether they were a part of His community, an outsider, rich, poor, a reject of society or the most revered leader.
Jesus showed love and brought value to them all. After Jesus has spent time with tax collectors, religious leaders, prostitutes, fishermen, and thieves he is getting quite a reputation.
In Matthew 11:19 we read:
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.
Jesus risked His status, reputation and life to show people that everyone could be loved and have a place in the God’s Kingdom.
How would you like to be labeled a friend of sinners? While at first it may seem like that’s not a good thing, in reality you would truly be a friend to everyone!
There is beauty in the diversity of this world. We must embrace those that are just like us as well as those that are very different from us.
Go out into the world and show some love and kindness to all those around you this week.