When Inequality is Biblical
Social justice is a major theme of the Bible and constant expression of God's Kingdom come. God's plan, from the time of Abraham, is to bless all the peoples of the earth. Christ is the ultimate expression of this blessing and he serves as a universal equalizer. The Bible teaches that there is only one way to solve the sin problem and the work of Jesus is prejudiced toward none. So, why then, is there so much inequality among Christians?
Why is there so much inequality among Christians?
Should admittance into the family of God bring about some sort of democratization of resources and opportunities? Why don't rich Christians help poor Christians and strong ones help the weak? Wouldn't a mature network of Christ followers share resources? I believe that these are powerful questions, if not a bit naive. The world we live in suffers from the consequences of sin so the disparity between Christian converts varies with polarizing force. We would do better to care for each other on a level playing field. But, like the heroes of Hebrews 11, we do not realize our full reward on earth. None of us receive, in full, what is promised for the time being and it becomes difficult to live ideally in the ordeal of this world. Christ's fight is our own and we carry out his mission as aliens and ambassadors in a world dominated by sin. This does not mean, however, that we abandon Christian care for each other. As previously mentioned, social justice is a major theme in the Old and New Testaments and God desires us to provide for the less providenced. The Church's ability to care for others is a powerful expression of God's love and may be the most powerful evangelistic weapon in the Christian arsenal. We should share with those less fortunate than us because they are us. But this is not the true subject of my writing today.
It becomes difficult to live ideally in the ordeal of this world.
There is one occasion, I believe, when inequality is Biblical and that is in the distribution of form and function within the body of Christ. Paul is clear in his first letter to Corinth that all believers, regardless of social demographic, are fully a part of the body of Christ. All Christian believers, united by the power of the Holy Spirit, are fully admitted en corpus Christi. However, the shape of each Christian is different and so is their service. Paul muses in 1 Corinthians 12 that a hand and a foot are both essential parts of the body but that they do not do the same thing. It is unbiblical for a foot to envy a hand or vice a versa. They are parts of a whole and are designed to be different.
Inequality is Biblical when examining the gifts and tasks asigned to individual Christians. You are composed in a unique and individualistic way. You are an integral part of a greater whole and must be willing to give up your identity as an individual to become integrated. We live in this tension between unity and functionality. We are one thing but do different things. You are not meant to be the same as others. Or as Paul says, do not envy a foot when you are a hand. The same blood flows through each of you and is the true source of life. Without it you are dead.
You are not meant to be the same as others
Discover the form and function of your life by allowing the Holy Spirit to restore you into the body of Christ. Imitate others as they submit themselves to Christ but do not get caught up in the trap of comparison. You are different and will always be different than others. This is what I call Biblical inequality and may be the most profound insight you could ever gain.