The God of Diversity and Inclusion
“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” - Genesis 1:31 NLT
“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” ? Ani DiFranco
“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard. There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen. There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”? Sun Tzu
We see diversity played out in the story of creation. We all know the story. We learnt it as children. What we did not learn was the principle of difference and its inherent beauty. We learn that later - when we have been confronted by our innate and most times learnt, prejudices and opinions.
Here is the story of difference and its inherent beauty as planned out and displayed by the Great Creator Himself in Genesis:
Day 1: Day and night are contrasted.
Day 2: Earth and space are contrasted.
Day 3: Land and sea are contrasted; as well as vegetation of every kind – the vast diversity of plants and trees.
Day 4: Sun and moon; and the diversity of stars are contrasted.
Day 5: The vast diversity of sea creatures as well as birds of the air are contrasted. (Note: The Lord blessed them, and told them to propagate and flourish).
Day 6: The vast variety of animals; both great and small, livestock and wild are contrasted. And then to crown it all, human beings. Male and female are contrasted. (Note: He told them to flourish, propagate, govern and reign over the earth together).
No two things are the same in creation. Each is distinctly different in kind and form yet they flourish harmoniously together and with each other. Each has a purpose, each has a role to play in the great story of universal life on the earth.
In biology, biodiversity pertains to the variation of life forms present in different ecosystems. It includes genetics, ecosystems, species, crops and functionalities. Biodiversity recognises that as diverse as life is, it also displays remarkable unity and such life enhances ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play.
To take it even further; at the heart of biology is chemistry, at the heart of chemistry is physics and at the heart of physics is mathematics. The diversity and interdependency of the sciences are also crucial to the well-being and advancement of humanity in relation to the world in which we live.
Diversity is at the Heart of Life and Living
Therefore we must embrace the concept of diversity and inclusion in our workplaces. Not just in theory or as a good policy but as a principle of life. It is fundamental to our humanity. We are all different shapes and sizes, all colours, all religions, all backgrounds, ‘all nations, tribes and tongues’.
We must accept one another. We must include one another. Our difference should cause us to draw near in curiosity and with a creative mind find out how we can best harness what we each bring to the table. The question to ask is - what and how can they contribute to and enrich our community?
We are followers of Jesus Christ. But do we do what He does?
In John 4, we see him seeking out a Samaritan woman. Deliberately, He purposed to go through Samaria to find her. As a Jewish Man, He crossed every barrier – religious, cultural, social, gender and moral. She was a sinful, outcast, Samaritan, woman!
In the workplace, there is so much diversity. If God created such diversity, should we not use it for His glory and celebrate it in our communities. We must include those who are different to us; and find creative ways to reach them.
What would Jesus do?
Jesus would probably seek out ways to befriend them. He would seek to be invited to their gatherings in order to understand them and reach out to them.
He would invite them to His gatherings for the same purpose. Zacchaeus was so privileged in Luke 19. Jesus would not compromise His message but He will lace it with love and compassion.
Would you do the same in your workplace? Time is short and there is an urgency for every person of every nation, tribe and tongue to be included in the Book of Life. Would you work in partnership with the Good Shepherd in your workplace?