I could eat blueberries by the handful.  In fact, that is my preferred method.  Sure, I could get Tracie to make a pie, or I could mix up a tasty batch of blue lemonade.  But why?  I enjoy them just as much by themselves, and it’s far less work for everyone involved.  And less waiting for me.

And when I say “handful,” I’m serious.  They last longer, of course, if you eat them one by one.  But all blueberries are not created equal.  Some are a touch overripe; some equally underripe.  Neither of these edges of the spectrum are entirely satisfying.  But when I eat four or five at a time, the extra tart and extra sweet elements get mixed together, creating an experience far richer than anything produced by any single berry, however perfect it might be.

I take my Christians the same way.  Some are a bit more or a bit less to my personal taste.  And I have come to actually prefer it that way.  I need varieties of judgment, experience and expertise.  It broadens the experience.  I see my brethren as not just individuals, but also a part of a whole.  I love my brethren for who they are instead of trying to turn them into versions of myself (Romans 14:1).  The body is better because of the differences among the members.

It’s more challenging that way, of course — and sometimes more frustrating.  But love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Some berries are actually rotten, of course.  Those need to be culled instead of absorbed.  But that’s an analogy for another time. 

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