Viva La Difference

May 6th, 2014 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Walking past a house in drought-stricken California lately, I noticed that the homeowner had replaced his front lawn with artfully arranged colored gravel. White and reddish-brown stones were arranged in a sharply delineated wave shape covering his front yard.

Sometime later I happened to be passing the same house and paused again to admire the pattern.  To my surprise, the edges were no longer as sharp.  The pattern was still there, but the interface was no longer clearly marked.  Some white stones could be seen just over the border in the reddish-brown part of the wave, and many darker colored stones appeared just into the white section of the pattern.  I don’t know if those stones were moved by a neighborhood dog or by the action of wind and rain or just by family members walking across their property, but the borders had become blurred.

I was instantly transported back a few years to when I brought home a box of watercolor paints for one of my children who displayed temporary artistic talent.  The neat little tin box containing ten bright colors and a few depressions in the lid for mixing your own colors enchanted my tiny Toulouse Lautrec.  A little while later I noticed the now abandoned paint box and saw that the ten colors had vanished.  In their place were ten blobs of similarly colored dull pigment.  The temptation to mix and match had been irresistible to my miniature Monet, and mix and match she did until the original colors vanished.  I should mention that she has since become enormously accomplished, just not as a painter.

It is almost a law of nature that borders blur, differences blend, and distinctions fade.  Yet Scripture virtually screams the message that God created for us a world in which distinctiveness brings harmony.  A world filled with men and women works better than one populated entirely by passionless, unisexual beings.  People with their own dreams and desires improving their lives with their separate skills and ambitions works better and creates far more human harmony than sinister centralized power using force and decree to make everyone the same.

A world with millions of different species of plants and animals works really well.  A world with different chemical elements and compounds works very well. Much of modern technology depends on the differences between semiconductors like silicon and germanium.  God created a world with countless differences and He wants us to keep it that way.

For this reason, we are admonished:

…you shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.  You shall not make your cattle interbreed with different species, you shall not sow your field with mixed seed, nor shall a garment mixed of linen and wool come upon you.
(Leviticus 19:18-19)

What an odd verse to follow the golden rule! Wouldn’t it make more sense to discuss giving charity, being kind to widows and orphans or not giving false testimony? Instead, the Creator, in His infinite wisdom is telling us something counter-intuitive to our limited understanding. We might mistakenly think that the more we encourage everyone to be the same, do the same and have the same, the more loving the world will be. To ensure that we do not make that mistake, Scripture immediately tells us we should even take care to keep separate certain things that we might think would go well together, like wool and flax/linen. How much more careful must we be to honor the distinctions that God built into the world, such as male and female or animal and human, and to honor the individual talents, desires and work of each individual.

How odd it would be if some naïve visitor to my home thought that the menu on my wife’s kitchen counter constituted that evening’s dinner or if the same visitor mistook a business plan for the intended factory. That’s what many of us do with Scripture. We mistake the seemingly simple words for the entire story. No! Scripture’s holy words actually reveal the awesome realities of your life. All you need is information to see beyond the surface into the marvelous world of 3,000 years of ancient Jewish wisdom.  Our 5 piece Biblical Blueprint audio CD set is a great resource to help you onto this path.

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