Chaplain’s Corner: CXVII

“The Source”

Henry Ford lived his entire life within a dozen miles of Dearborn, Michigan where he was born.  Ford is arguably the most successful industrialist of all time.  His primary culture-shaping contribution–the car he named the Model T–rolled off the assembly line for the first time on October 1, 1908, when he was already 45 years old.  At the time, there were some 2,200 makes on the market.  But the Model T left them all in the dust.

Ford’s production numbers defy imagination.  Within four years, 75% of all the cars on the road were Model Ts.  In 1910, it took 14 hours to build one.  By 1913, assembly required only 90 minutes.  A car, truck, or tractor rolled off a Ford assembly line somewhere in the world every 10 seconds.  Model Ts were romanticized as the greatest invention of all time during the first quarter of the 20th century.  The original models had no speedometer and no gas gauge.  The car’s unique “planetary transmission” had two forward gears and one reverse, and took a long time to master.  The headlights were notoriously dim at low speeds but could explode at higher speeds.

So what made the Model T so charming?

Every one of them was practically indestructible, easily repaired, strong enough to pull itself through mud and snow.  Model Ts are chiefly remembered for their SAMENESS.  Apart from minor variations they were all alike.  You could have any color as long as it was black.  Car parts were interchangeable.

SAMENESS is comforting.  Standardization of food service, travel and human experience in general has become an expectation.  SAMENESS rules.

But SAMENESS is not the rule in the Jesus-following life.  The Apostle Paul makes this bedrock statement in I Corinthians 12:4-6:  “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all off them and in everyone is the same God at work.”

Notice where SAMENESS is found.  It relates to the SOURCE of human greatness.  We receive what we need in life from the same God (the Father), Lord (the Son), and Spirit.  Our personal experience, meanwhile is DIFFERENTNESS-different gifts, different kinds of service, and different kinds of working.  People are not interchangeable.

We didn’t all roll off the same assembly line.  Every Christian carries the DNA of discipleship.  God is the SOURCE.

That is expressed in a variety of ways.  Some are students, some sing, some do mission, some are great at hospitality, others by example teach us all to experience the love of God and love others as Christ loves us.  Here at Westminster Village I hope you will examine your gifts and allow your unique gifts to be used here among your fellow residents.

No one knows how or why the Holy Spirit leads different members of God’s team to function in such different ways.  When you get to Heaven God isn’t going to ask you why you weren’t more like Martin Luther or Augustine or Francis of Assisi or Billy Graham or Mother Teresa.  He’ll ask why you weren’t more like YOU.

Your spiritual enablements, opportunities, and differentness are exactly what the world needs.



Ron Naylor, Chaplain