From: Earth Psalms
Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation – every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation – all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:11-12)
I love walking through the produce section of our local grocery store and looking at all the apples – Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Braeburn, Fuji – all different colors and all beautiful. Did you know there are 7,500 kinds of apples in the world?
Apples are very interesting.
Every seed in an apple contains genetic instructions for a completely new and different apple tree. Though it seems counterintuitive, if you plant seeds from a Honeycrisp apple, the resulting tree will not produce Honeycrisp apples. The fruit could be large or small, tart or sweet, crisp or soft. The only way to reproduce one particular variety is to graft its branch onto another tree. This extreme variability is called heterozygosity, and this aspect of apples gives these trees the ability to make their home everywhere – from California to New Zealand or Kazakhstan. Every human being is unique, because we are heterozygous too.
Not only do apples smell and taste good, they are one of the many miracles of God’s creation. Every single apple tree grown from a seed produces apples different in color, smell, and taste from those on any other tree. Over time, people have picked a few favorites out of God’s vast crop and grafted the trees to reproduce them. Now we know what we’re getting. No surprises.
That’s not God’s way. He loves variety in apples and in people. In Psalm 104, the psalmist exclaims, “O Lord what a variety of things you have made!” (v. 24) The Creation account in Genesis 1 details the array of plants and creatures God made – “all sorts” of vegetation and animals, not to mention birds of the air and creatures of the sea. He could have created a much simpler natural world, but instead he made one that overflows with color, variety, and original design. And he has created humans with the same variety as well. While our culture might tell us that we have to look a certain way to be attractive, act a certain way to be well-liked, or own certain things to be successful, that boring sameness doesn’t reflect God’s ideal. We can revel in being part of his wonderfully varied creation.
Whenever I am afield or outdoors, there steals over me the acute consciousness that I am confronted on every hand by the superb workmanship of my Father. It is as if every tree, rock, river, flower, mountain, bird, or blade of grass had stamped upon it the indelible label, “Made by God.”
In what ways do you think our culture encourages sameness? Why? How does variety in appearance, attitudes, talents, and personality reflect God’s character?
This week, observe the differences in the people around you. Do you find it difficult to appreciate any of their characteristics – or any of your own? Ask God to help you value the amazing variety of his creation.
CONNECT WITH GOD
Lord, at times I feel pressure to fit in with those around me. It can seem like there’s only one right way to look or act. I’m so grateful that you created the world with remarkable variety – far beyond what was functional or needed, but solely for your own pleasure and ours! Help me to value that variety in myself and others, marveling in the richness of your creativity.
O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The Earth is full of your creatures.
Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
teeming with life of every kind,
both large and small.