June 26, 2023

Doing Things Differently

Devotion for the Week...

Before we dive into this week's devotion, just a note to say this will be the last devotion published before my annual summer break. I'll be back with new devotions again in September. And it really will be September this year, not October like happened last year!

I have a few banners I hang up to decorate for birthdays. I've been using the same banners since the boys were small, and hanging them in the same places for every birthday. The night before Nathan's birthday this year, I almost forgot to put them up, only realizing it when I was on my way to bed. I asked Paul to help, and he hung the shortest banner in a different place from my normal spot for it. When I saw it, I caught myself about to correct him, but then realized two things: 1. the banner was fine where it was and 2. he doesn't have to do things the same way I do. 

I find myself having similar moments about other things people do differently from how I would do them. I see their different way, and my first thought is to correct them and show them how it should be done. Thankfully, I usually catch myself in time and keep my mouth closed! There are a lot of different ways to accomplish most things, and there's nothing wrong with any of them, even if they're not my preferred way of doing it.

Thinking about that made me think about Paul writing about divisions in the Corinthian church. Apparently there were squabbles among the believers there, and Paul felt the need to address it in a letter to the church. "Some of you are saying, 'I am a follower of Paul.' Others are saying, 'I follow Apollos,' or 'I follow Peter,' or 'I follow only Christ'" (1 Corinthians 1:12). Paul, Apollos and Peter all preached the same message about salvation through faith in Jesus, but they would have presented that message differently, according to their own personalities. Their different presentation styles would have resonated with different people. That's perfectly normal. Unfortunately, it sounds like people were then rushing headlong into the territory of 'if it's not done the way I like, then it's not right' and it was dividing the church.

We all have our preferences. Whether it's for the kind of music sung in the church or the style of sermon the pastor presents, there will inevitably be some that we like and some that we don't. That's all well and good. Problems come when we stop seeing our preferences as preferences and start seeing them as the only right way. Then we get upset because people are doing things 'wrong', and we let those preferences breed division among us. In the worst cases, we let our differences become reasons to attack and demean the other person, as if their preferences were a stain on their character or a sign of an inferior faith.

Instead, Paul urged the Corinthians, and by extension us, to live in harmony. "I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose" (v. 10). That doesn't mean we have to be identical. There's plenty of room for our preferences, so long as we keep them in the proper perspective. It means we allow space for our different ways of doing things, without feeling the need to correct or to enforce our own way of doing it as the 'right' way.
We will reach more people if we embrace our differences | DevotedQuilter.com
After all, the gospel would have spread faster with Apollos, Peter, and Paul all working to share the Good News, each in his own way. The same is still true today. As we all work in our own ways, our different styles and personalities will appeal to different people, allowing us to reach more people because we embrace our differences than we ever could if we insisted everyone had to do things our way.


  1. Guilty of "correcting" people to do things MY way (ask my husband about loading the dishwasher...!). I'll be remembering this devotional for a while. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. God's tent is big and each of us occupies only a small part of it. There's room for all!

  3. This is so important in today’s world where everyone is trying to “corner the market”. Jesus is the reason and the decorations on the walls just frills. Lord, sharpen our focus.


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