Last week I told you one of the men with whom I regularly study the Bible was challenging some of my conclusions on a passage I recently have studied. This afternoon I read though his comments in detail. This individual’s gifts are different than mine. He approaches the Word from a different perspective, through the lens of his gifts and experience.
Thirty five years ago was the first time we were in a study together. Then we came to the study having invested a minimum of 20 hours each week in preparation. There were twelve of us around the table. Each of us came with settled understanding of what we had studied. We did not always agree. It never came to physical blows but the intensity of the discussion would have permanently damaged sensitive people. None of us fell into that category.
Today, I have learned – strike that – I am learning to better engage my friend’s gifts. To listen more carefully, to attempt to understand how and why he comes to his conclusions. Most of the time we are on the same page, just different paragraphs. Not always.
Part of the reality of the Body is that we need each other. We need each other’s gifts, experience, perspective. We have to learn to embrace the differences, to celebrate them, and to learn from one another. Our pursuit of the infinite will be epically diminished if we do not. This Christian thing in which we are engaged is not an individual but rather a team sport.