3 Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. 4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7 If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8 If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.
When we think, sometimes wistfully, about discerning God’s “good and pleasing and mature” will for our life (cf. Romans 12:2), we may think in terms of visions or dramatic, “out of the blue” messages. Paul was a community-builder, one member who relied on other members of the “body of Christ.” He said honest self-assessment would direct God’s people to God’s will. A key to God’s will is that you primarily do what you’re gifted to do: e.g. “If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching.”
Lord Jesus, you knew yourself and your life mission. You were clear about what only you could do, and you called men and women to help you with any tasks you could share. Amen.
* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letter to the Romans (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 159.
When I was in fourth grade, I was really good at spelling things. When we had a regional spelling bee, I was the fourth grade representative for our school, and I spent hours and hours studying in preparation.
The day before the event, my teacher pulled me aside and told me how proud she was of all the work I’d put into it and that she thought I was going to nail it. My heart filled with pride, but I tried to shove it down. “Pride goes before a fall,” after all!
My teacher saw the smile I was suppressing and knew what was happening in my head. She knelt down to my level, looked me in the eye, and told me something I’ve never forgotten. “It’s okay to be happy, Randy,” she said. “You’ve put a lot of work into this, and you should be proud of yourself.”
Before that moment, I don’t think I’d ever been told sometimes it was okay to be proud of myself. Today, I actually believe that it’s really important for us to have pride in who we are and what we’re doing.
The Scripture today reminds us, though, that we also ought to have pride in the people around us. I am not the only one whose life and work has incredible value. Each person in my life is made in the image of God, and each one is talented, intelligent, and worthy of appreciation.
When we respect ourselves and respect each person around us, we become an embodiment of Christ.
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