Read John 18 and I Samuel 19
Now the servants and the officers had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. John 18:18
Matt wrote in yesterday’s devotional about the friendship of two men who were very different from each other: King Darius, and Daniel, his foreign born slave. By nature, we prefer to be with those who are similar to us. Romance web sites like e-harmony are successful because they pair people by their similarities. The rich are paired with the rich. The beautiful are paired with the beautiful.
But most of us have discovered that our best relationships are often with those who are so very different from us. To be always with our peers makes us dry, tedious people.
Perhaps it is like all small town communities, but where I live, on the Minnesota Iron Range, there is a hyper clannishness. From earliest childhood to the nursing home, the same group of guys are always together. They go to every sports event together; they snowmobile together; they go to the bar together. If one goes to Las Vegas, they all go to Las Vegas. When they get married, their wives either become part of their clan (though they hang out with the other wives) or they will need to figure out how to live independently of their husbands. Like the mentally ill, those within this group cannot feel sympathy nor can they be sympathetic. Their only method of communication is the crude and simple jest.
One would think that diversity would cause division and separation. But it is often God’s way that our differences attract, like the magnet—only the positive can join with the negative.
The more fully alive a person is, the more unique he becomes. The nicest compliment I’ve received about my children is that they are so different from each other. And we still have friends who shake their heads when they think about my wife and myself. “How can two such different people get along so well?” they ask.
Peter denied his Lord because he was fearful of being identified as one so different from those who stood by the fire. But his denial of who he was did not gain him entrance into their fellowship. For what brought them together was their anticipation of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. Peter came to his senses when he heard the rooster crow. He then left their unwelcoming fellowship and went out and wept bitterly.
I very much appreciate the church of which I am a part. Though it is a small group, we have people from every demographic. We have the very old and the very young; those who have been part of our type of church fellowship for six generations, and those who are totally unaware of our church traditions; those who are highly intellectual, and those who are disdainful of the academic; those who are needy, and those who are well off. Most who are politically conservative, but one person is a known liberal. Our diversity makes us a particularly loving fellowship.
But just like Daniel and Darius, different as we may be, we do have a commonality that brings us together, our belief in a Faithful God who is willing and able to save.