The Body Builder
by Major Terry Camsey –
Superficially, Dolly the cloned sheep looks to me like any other sheep. I have a feeling, however, that the closer one looks, the more pronounced the differences would become evident. Is, for example, her coloring exactly the same as any other sheep? I doubt it. Does she have exactly the same number of strands of wool on her back? I doubt it.
The thought came to mind as I was glancing through a booklet of quotations that arrived, unsolicited, through the mailbox. This quote, in particular, caught my eye…
“You are the only person on earth who can use your ability”
It’s true, isn’t it? No one else in the world has exactly the same eyes, skin tone, voice, fingerprint…even hair as you. That last one is of continuing concern to me since it is becoming more difficult to find mine by the day. We are told that even the hairs on our head are numbered. If that’s true, then when I washed mine this morning, #27, #105 and #3003 fell out and were washed down the plug-hole!
We each have a different smile, way of walking, taste for food…even identical twins are not truly identical. Superficially, maybe, but when you get to discern temperaments and personalities, differences become very apparent.
The simple fact is that God is not in the business of making clones. You will not find two of anything in his creation exactly alike, right down to the minutest detail. Try to find two similar snowflakes, or blades of grass, or petals on a flower. You can’t. They say, in some situations, that “the devil is in the details.” While that may apply to his opposition when we attempt to do something to expand God’s kingdom, it does not apply to the way our Creator made us. God is in those details and, I believe, knows exactly what he has done and continues to do in our lives.
It is exactly the reverse in the world. The tendency of the world is to encourage everyone to fit into molds. What does the world consider beautiful? Skinny models! And look at the number trying to fit into that mold. See how many follow the fashion trends, or hair styling trends.
It strikes me, however, that God–being perfect–makes no mistakes and that you and I are like ourselves and no one else, because that’s the way he wants it. In fact, don’t you feel that, if we spend our lives trying to be like someone else (other than Christ), that is a rejection of God’s desire for us? We were born originals. Why strive to be like someone else and develop feelings of envy, or insecurity?
We could take that thought a step further and say that, if God raised the Army to be what it is and to accomplish a specific mission, is it not sinful to want to be exactly the same as some other church or denomination. A church or denomination which may –in fact–be trying to be like us!
Which reminds me of when I was in the International Staff Band many years ago. At that time the New York Staff Band wore lay-down collar uniforms and the ISB wore stand-up collar uniforms (the old “lion-tamer” style, in fact). We (of the ISB) looked at them (the NYSB) and wished we could have lay down collars too. What I did not discover until later was that they (the NYSB) were looking at us (the ISB) and saying how smart the stand-up collar uniforms were. What happened? The ISB went into lay down collars and the NYSB went into stand up collars!
But, back briefly to denominations and other churches. I am not suggesting that we cannot learn from each other. We should always be examining what God is blessing (instead, perhaps, of asking him to bless what we want to do) and trying to discern his will. We should always be looking for ways to translate immutable principles into impactive patterns of communication. But clone ourselves? I don’t think so.
Back to the issue at hand. If God makes no mistakes, if we (individually or denominationally)–with our distinctive mix of personality, natural talents, spiritual gifts and passion for some cause–do not discover our uniqueness and apply it to ministry, something important will be left undone.
As another quote in the same booklet put it…
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.”
Rouse then, soldier. Rally ’round the banner!