Years ago I was with a neighbor, looking at a hillside full of trees. Many different types of trees were there, with a variety of leaves and needles. All kinds of different shades of green were visible, with some yellow and a little bit of red and orange mixed in. As we enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation, Don remarked: “God puts all those different shades of green together and it looks great, but my wife thinks my shirt and pants need to be a matching color when we go out.”
I don’t know that the variety of colors of trees means it is okay to wear mismatching clothes. It does serve, however, as an example of how a diversity of colors can go together and become something beautiful.
God made many different types and colors of trees, and He made many different types and colors of people. If God wanted everybody to have the same skin color, He could have made us that way. Nothing is impossible for God. But the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and grace, chose to show His incredible creative ability. He painted the hillsides of the world with all kinds of different shades and colors of skin.
The variety of colors can be a beautiful thing, but sadly the beauty is not always appreciated. Throughout the centuries people have struggled with the temptation to think their color is the best color. Far too often people have only wanted to be around their color. That is like a forester wanting to only plant one type and shade of tree. What a boring and unhealthy forest that would be.
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3). Don’t think people of your color are superior and more honest and hard-working than people of a different color. The outside color doesn’t automatically determine what a person is like on the inside.
God’s church is described in Scripture as a body with many different parts. “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. … God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (I Corinthians 12:12, 18, 19). The many parts of the body look different from one another. But God has arranged them and made them that way for a reason. God doesn’t want us to all look the same and be the same and do the same kind of work.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility … you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:14, 19). These days, when there is so much division, can be an opportunity for God’s church to show the world that Jesus is our peace. Christ can bring diverse people together into one family and make them into something beautiful.