Every year we find some time to take a family picture. It is usually so telling. The picture helps you understand who was there, what we wore and how we were feeling at that moment. It’s the kind of picture you go back to many times and see more things each time. On the look back today, I saw the global community. A mom from Jamaica and a dad from America. They were married in England. They have 3 living children born in different countries. Their son, an American is married to a Canadian. They also have three children and those children are as different and as unique as the rest of the gathering. This is the United Nations! The reality is wherever you live, whomever is in your “family”, there is a picture that when you all come together is special. The challenge is finding your place in the big picture. The comedian, the negotiator, the director or maybe the photographer are some of the roles you may play. When you figure out your place, it can be pure joy to play your part. Here are just a few things to remember as you live out your role;
#1 The World We Live In Is Global. Regardless of how many differences we can identify, we have some connection to each other. Tall or short; Male or female; Jamaican or Canadian we are connected in some way as humans on this ball we call planet Earth. Although our differences set up the boundaries of our lives we have a common bond. Created by Jesus and finding the truest joy in worship of Him. The next time you meet someone and you are tempted to identify them by your differences- stop and consider your similarities. Made by God, on this planet for a purpose and connected to other humans. For me, this has meant learning about the big world outside my little world. I prefer isolation but the Lord has had other plans. These have included unexpected interruptions by both God and His creation in my life. We are in this together.
#2 The Camera Is Always Rolling. Sometimes you may not be ready for the photo op, but the camera of life is always on. So be content with what raw material you have to work with. You are who you are! Learning to see yourself not as someone needing to model perfection, but rather someone who is able to be authentic will have a great impact on the world around you. This is not an invitation to be always smiling but rather to be always real.
#3 Know What Makes For A Good Photo. By photo I mean opportunity, arrangement, plan or project. Sometimes I’m looking for my similarities, but God often builds powerfully through contrast. My favorite reminder to newly weds is that “If you both were the same, someone would be unnecessary!” It is that tossed salad effect that can bring out the flavor in any situation. These don’t have to be radical differences in order to be significant. In my world I work with people of faith. Some are tall, some are short, some are men some are women, some are from the UK others not so much. Their similarity is great- they are Christians. But their nuanced differences – like where they buy their car, who they voted for in the last election or the pigmentation of their skin are all less significant than their similarity as Christians. Yet, it’s those differences that make the “snapshot” so unique.God’s word, speaking about Christians, to Christians says “They will know you are Christians by your love one for another.” (John 13). When that love is active and working to serve the Lord and bring Him glory, and the different flavors work together for Christ, it is a powerful picture of God at work. It makes a good photo of building together in the global community.