As seen in the  "The Heartbeat" and published in the Hot Springs Village Voice

Stop for a moment and look around. Do you notice any………differences? If we get evaluative, we notice different trees, different houses, different clothes, and different people. Look at your bookcase. Every spine is different (if you don’t have duplicate books)! Why so often do we do the opposite and look for similarities?

Here’s an example: when you’re driving down the road, which type of car do you notice the most? It’s the car that looks like yours, whether it’s a different color or not! We are so familiar with our own car or truck and how it looks, when we see one similar it activates a memory in our brain that says “There’s my vehicle.” Without the memory, we would be hard pressed to find our vehicle in the big parking lot at Walmart!

We even search for and celebrate similarities. When we meet someone new and try to build a relationship, we look for similarities such as hobbies, music, birth places, and past states of residence. It’s only natural, as we learn from our pre-K days to gather things together that look the same, as in shape or color. And then as adults, we play games on our cell phones which are based on matching pairs of items! It is engrained in us to look at similarities.

But what if we began to look at differences? No two trees are alike. No two houses are alike. No two fairways on golf courses are the same! Wouldn’t it be boring if they were? If similarity was accepted, then Henry Ford’s premise of, “You can have any color as long as it’s black” would still be the norm. And let’s not even get into how people are different!!

Jesus picked His initial twelve to follow Him, to learn, to experience, and to eventually continue His work spreading the Good News. They weren’t all fishermen. They weren’t all tax collectors. They weren’t all zealots. They weren’t all businessmen. Jesus picked His disciples based on diversity. Each was different, had a different personality, and had a different way of looking at things. Some were quiet while some were, well, dare I say brash!

God created each of us differently. In this puzzle called His creation, He shows us a beauty that lies not in similarity, but in differences. He does not want us to exclude people or things that are different. He shows us the beauty is not in similarity, but in differences.

As we begin the new year, may we all be aware of those around us and how celebrating the differences can be a wonderful thing. Look around and see things in the way God created them – with differences.

  Mountainside Church · 301 Elcano Drive
Hot Springs Village · AR 71909

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