Many buzz words float around our political culture scene today, and one of them is Equality. Woman want equality with men; gays want the same equality in marriage as heterosexuals; the poor want equality with the rich and so on. So what about equality? Is it real or is it a myth?
EQUALITY – A DEFINITION
Equality is defined as ‘the state of being equal, likeness in size, quantity, value or degree. The state in which it cannot be said to be inferior or superior; greater or less; a sameness in state.’
Now is that always possible? Is it always desirable? Or is it idealistic to think of things being equal? Is that a myth?
When it comes to the Constitution of the United States, it clearly states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
So, consequently, we are all on the same level in terms of a person’s value, but that does not mean we are equal in every area or way.
Let us look at equality in the world and then in the spiritual realm. But before we do, let’s lay a foundation relating to equality in a parable that Jesus told.
PARABLE OF THE TALENT
Jesus told an interesting parable (Matthew 25), concerning a man who went on an extended trip. Before going, he gave responsibilities to his servants concerning the talents that he had given them; one servant 5,000, another 2,000 and the third servant 1,000. The first two servants used their talents wisely and had something to present to the master when he returned, whereas the third servant had nothing to show. The first two were commended; the third one was rebuked.
Now there are many lessons to be learned from this parable, but one simple point is that people do not receive the same amount of talents (or whatever that may represent). There was no place for equality in the way the talents were distributed.
EQUALITY IN THE NATURAL REALM
• Natural Talents – Not everyone has the IQ of an Albert Einstein. We are not all equal in intelligence. Not everyone who plays basketball can reach the level of Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Not everyone who goes into business will be another Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs. As far as natural talent is concerned, it is a myth to think equality. Some people are more gifted, talented, intelligent than others. Equality just doesn’t happen.
• Politics – There is a call by some to eliminate the Electoral College in the Presidential Elections in the United States and instead have the decision based on the popular vote. The founding fathers had other ideas, ones that were not based on equality. They created a system for a Republic that brought together the various states that made up the United States of America. Designed to protect the smaller states from being overpowered by the larger states, they created a Senate made up of two senators from each state. The Electoral College was also created to achieve the same purpose. The Constitution was not intended to create equality in the voting process, but rather it was designed as a Republic.
• Gender – While men and women are equal as far as worth and value are concerned, they are not equal. They are different. Women can have babies. Men can’t give birth. Men are normally stronger than women. Men can generally run faster, lift greater weights and excel in any number of physical activities. “The biological aspects of male and female seem obvious, . . . one woman said of males who claim to be female; they can never have the experience of females; to have a period, to bear babies, to give birth, to nurse, to experience menopause.” The move to remove the difference in gender and make male and female the same and so create a unisex society, endorsing the concept of transgenderism, is not based on reality. It is a myth.
EQUALITY IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM
It is true that the ground at the foot of the cross is level. As Paul pointed out in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ.” God is no respecter of persons, and each one has the same value in the sight of God. He loves each and everyone, and Christ died for each and every one.
However, in our life as believers, there is not equality but a diversity that it intended to function in unity.
• Calling – Paul, in I Corinthians 12, after spelling out our unity in Christ, goes on to use the analogy of the human body to illustrate the diversity of gifts within the church. He points out that in the body, we have many members, feet, hands, ears, eyes and so on. He declares, “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He pleased (v 18).” In other words, we are not all the same. We need to discern what God has called us to be in the church and seek to function in that calling. We are not all the same, and we are not all equal in terms of our calling.
• Gifting/Anointing – Again, in I Corinthians 12, when Paul talks about spiritual gifts, he points out that “the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” So, God gives us different gifts, different levels of anointing to various people, just as He wills. If you are called to be an evangelist, you probably will not have the same anointing as a Billy Graham or a Reinhard Bonke. If you are called to teach, you will probably not be another David Jeremiah or a Derek Prince. God has a unique called specifically for you.
• Local Church – One of the issues that has divided the church is church government. How should a local church be organized? We need, however, to remember the local church was not primarily called to be a ‘democracy.’ Rather, God has placed in the church leaders to lead the church. Ephesians 4:11 tells us they are “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.” They are meant to be ‘servant leaders’ not dictators. They are the leaders God has put in place. It is like the manager of a baseball team selecting the players for a particular position. In a church that doesn’t mean the congregation can’t make a contribution or give input; rather it simply means the local church should be pastor led.
Equality sounds good, but God never created a world where everything and everyone was equal in everything and every area. Equality in all things is a myth. It will never happen.
I couldn’t help but remember a line from George Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’ that states, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
God’s plan is, rather, diversity in unity. Everyone moving in their respective calling and gifting, yet working together to extend God’s kingdom here on earth.
Diversity moving in unity.