Depending on where you live, it may be common for you to see very little diversity within your church. Believe it or not, God’s people are a diverse bunch!
Even from the beginning of creation, God created many kinds of animals, birds, and sea creatures. He made two distinct types of people, too – men and women. Men and women are obviously different, but each is important for the growth and care of creation and society. The differences didn’t stop at male and female. You can look around and see the vast diversity of the world and the people God created!
It’s easy to get mixed up about diversity, or feel like it’s too sensitive a topic to discuss openly. Since the Bible is our source of truth, let’s look at some of the things it has to say about diversity, and how we can use God’s truth in our lives.
Acts 17:26-28 is one of my favorite passages. It has comforted me in homesickness and defined moves I’ve made as planned out by God to draw me closer to him. Aside from these personal implications, these two verses in Acts remind all of us how and why God created all people.
26 “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being,’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
For starters, he made all nations from one man. In other words, we all have the same ancestors. This reminder wipes out any reason we might think we have to feel superior to anyone else.
Verse 27 tells us why he made all nations and why he ordained their times and places in history and geography – so that they would seek him, reach out for him, and find him. God wants all people, from all places on the earth to know him. He also knows that placing people in distinct scenarios, families, and life circumstances will set them up to find him in unique ways.
“As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” We are told many places throughout the Bible that those who follow God are his children – sons and daughters. Here is evidence of that sentiment reaching mainstream society! Those poets may not have known how true their words are, but they spoke to the family God invites all people into – no matter their skin tone, their country of origin, their language, or their cultural practices.
Take some time to reflect on these verses, and even this chapter of Acts. In it Paul speaks to the people of Athens, trying to persuade them that they are chasing after all the wrong gods. If cultural or racial diversity in the church is our end goal, we will also find ourselves chasing an idol. Instead, let’s remember that “in him we live and move and have our being,” (verse 28) and that is true for everyone on earth - each son and daughter on earth finds true value in that descriptor alone. It is because God is so great that he is praised, honored, and sought after by people from all around the world! It is because of God that we are able to live and move, and to search after and find him in the first place.