“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: If prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Romans 12:3-8 ESV
As we begin a new church year, having held the dedication service for nearly 100 different positions last Sunday, I just read this week this reminder from Paul in his letter to the church in Rome. He writes that we should, “not think of himself (themselves) more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned…” We have been called to serve, and in many if not most cases, to continue to serve the body of Christ here at Mt. Pleasant. It is a sobering task, and one that if we are honest, is well over our head apart from the help that we receive from God’s gracious hand.
Paul writes how that though we are many, we are all a part of one body in Christ. That is what brings such a diverse group; diverse in age, in background, in experience, in education, in spiritual maturity, in personality; together for a common cause. It is good that we have this diversity because of the value that it brings to our discussions, our ideas, our faithfulness to following Christ as we serve the church together.
The other thing that is diverse is our gifts. Paul lists a number of them here that we are to use according to the grace given to us. In 1 Cor. 12, in writing on the same subject to a different group, he writes, “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. (1Cor. 12:18) We aren’t the ones who get to choose what gifts we are given. That’s God’s prerogative. We can choose whether or not to use our gifts, but God is the one who gives them to us. Finding how best to bring those gifts together in one place is God’s doing as well, and I’m convinced that He has given each church those people with the necessary gifts that each church will need to do the work He has called them to do.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem like you have all the necessary pieces in place, but I believe they are there, though perhaps hidden by any number of factors. Like Moses, when God called him to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt, perhaps feelings of inadequacy prevent someone from offering their gifts. He felt he didn’t have the gift to be able to speak, but God reminded him who it was that made his tongue. Everyone has something that they can offer to a local church, even if all they can do is to pray for the church. Paul writes, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” I pray that we will do just that, for God’s glory, and for the building up of His church.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen