Genesis 10:5 (KJV): “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.”
COMMENTARY: As many subscribers to The Salt Mine know, I’m frequently inspired to write my devotions during quiet hikes in the hilly, rocky forests of Connecticut and nearby Massachusetts. During these hikes, it’s very common to come across clusters of pines, white birch, oaks, mountain laurel, and other species of plant life.
A “cluster” is a group of similar things positioned or occurring closely together. This clustering is not a negative characteristic of plant life. There are understandable environmental reasons why plant life has a tendency to cluster. As a lover of nature, I am free to walk through all of these clusters along the trail, enjoying and appreciating the diversity, without expecting to see every species growing together in the exact same location.
In a similar way, it is natural for social and economic clustering to take place in humanity. This human clustering has taken place for thousands of years, since early in the Book of Genesis. There is nothing inherently wrong or unjust about it.
APPLICATION: Diversity is a hot buzzword in today’s culture and workplaces. As we journey through life, diversity of people (as in plant life) is to be accepted, enjoyed and appreciated. However, be aware that current “politically correct” views of, assumptions about, and expectations for diversity are extreme, unrealistic and impractical. In my view, much of the intense focus on diversity is misguided groupthink and manipulative posturing.
Like nature, people groups will always be prone to cluster, regardless of ethnicity or industry. Clustering and diversity are not mutually exclusive. The societal and spiritual problem arises when clustering makes people so “in-grown” that they fail to explore, engage with, relate to, appreciate, and enjoy the wider diversity that exists in the forest of humanity–with the love of Christ at our inner core.
For Further Exploration
For further exploration about 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 (KJV), read It Takes All Sorts (1 Corinthians 3:1–9) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.