God's image and human diversity 

by Hugh Welchel

God intentionally made human beings diverse because he designed us to work together in relationship.

This way we can achieve more by working together than we can individually.

This core biblical principle is woven into the very fabric of creation.

Economists have observed this diversity; they call it comparative advantage.

Comparative advantage is using the gifts and talents God has given you to do the things you are relativity better at doing in a given situation. The word “comparative” is key.

Comparative advantage is not just another way of talking about a person’s strengths.

Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses is critical for making good decisions about a variety of things, but knowing your comparative advantage in a given situation constitutes more than just knowing what you’re good at doing.

Comparative advantage is the glue that holds communities together. As we each do what we are better at doing, we all add to the common good. We fulfill our call to be good stewards in community with one another.

This is what God intended. God desires for us to use our gifts and talents to glorify him, serve the common good, and further his kingdom in all we do at our churches, in our families, within our communities, and at our jobs.

Even in the Garden of Eden we see comparative advantage between Adam and Eve.

They are commanded by God to “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Gen. 1:28).  Neither Adam nor Eve can do this by themselves. God’s design was for them to do it together in what we now call the family.

In a modern world, we could not live a day without depending on millions of strangers for everything we do throughout our waking hours.

When we realize this, we realize just how true it is that biblical flourishing only occurs in the context of community.

Why is community so important to comparative advantage?

It is through Christ’s redemption that we are restored to a right relationship with God. That in turn allows Christians to seek the fullness and wholeness of living in community.

As a result, we are able to bring a level of flourishing to our families and our communities, reflecting the glory of God to a world that is in desperate need of finding something greater than itself.

CLS Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for the ways you bless me through all those working around me - from the farmer, to the truck driver, to the grocer, to the police, and so many others. Remind me daily that I also am part of your plan to bless others and to be faithful and submit all of my work to you. Amen.


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Hugh Whelchel is Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org)  and author of How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work.

CLS is working with the Institue for Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE) to provide thoughtful and inspiring devotionals to CLS members. IFWE is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) Christian research organization committed to promoting biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society.