There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
A quick glance at my friends often leads me to worship God, because man – He is so creative.
It doesn’t take much, I don’t have to look too deep to see how vastly different they are – even just on the outside.
The tones of their skin, the colors of their eyes, their different shapes and sizes. The way they laugh differently or style their hair. I’m a friend girl, and I see God so wildly at work in them – in the way He made them so distinctly and vastly contrasting.
It’s interesting how we group together the words: compare and contrast, which are almost very similar in meaning but have taken on connotations and flavors of their own. When I think of comparison – there is a slight question of worth: we compare things to decide which has more value or is intrinsically better. And when I think of contrasting: I am only pointing out the distinct differences – not necessarily looking for similarities.
As a lover of God and a student of His ways, I’m feeling a tug towards contrasting these days. While I think it’s beautiful and bold to search for attributes I have in common with another human, I sense the spirit of God calling me to stand on the solid ground of one similarity alone: God made us and He loves us.
If you don’t like look like me – God made us and He loves us both. That’s irrefutable. If we disagree about politics – God made us and He loves us both. We have that in common. If our perspectives are different, I know this is still our starting point – God made us and He loves us both.
When we’re girded by the knowledge of grace and the truth that we’re both created and loved by God, I’m so much safer to spend my time worshipping Him through contrast and forgetting comparison altogether.
I can look at our differences and see His hand at work in your life, letting myself be in awe of Him with every new facet I see. Suddenly, the contrasting leads me to an increased awe of how big and good my Father is – to make people so wildly different, for His glory and the good of our world.
What’s more: the practice of grateful and worshipful contrasting edges out any temptation or propensity for comparison – the dangerous practice of seeing our differences and assigning varied worth to who we are based on how we’re different.
What if we ditched comparison for intentional contrasting – as a practice to worship God and how He’s made these children He loves so much? What if we made ourselves students of how people are different from one another, as an intentional practice to see the power and creativity of our very good Father?
This I know we have in common: God made us and He loves us both the same, way more than we could ever earn or deserve. But I’ll make it my goal to contrast us now – never to separate us, always to unite our hearts in awe and worship of a God who would make us so intentionally different, on purpose, for our good and His glory.
Want to join me this month? At your tables, but also as you move through the day? Let’s allow contrasting to replace comparison, with the hope that it leads us into further worship of a Father who made us distinctly different because He’s that big, that good, and that creative.
Jess Connolly is a woman who wants to leave her generation more in awe of God than she found it. She is passionate about her family, God’s Word, and seeing women take their place in the Kingdom. Her and her husband Nick planted Bright City Church in Charleston, SC, where they live with their four kids. She’s published a handful of books including Wild and Free and Dance Stand Run. She is one of the owners of All Good Things Collective and the founder of Go + Tell Gals.