May 13, 2022
“For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith...”
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“For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we are many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Messiah and individual members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:” Romans 12:3-6a
Years ago, I was leading music on a tour of Israel during their Independence Day. As the lot fell, my wife and I were given a room in one of the most expensive hotels in Israel. Alongside Israel’s anniversary, there was a global summit of world leaders who were in town to discuss Middle East peace, and many of these leaders were staying in our hotel. President George Bush was staying at the hotel next door. (BTW, if you ever want to hear an Arab yell, ask him what he thinks about George Bush!)
When the American President decides to go somewhere, regardless of the country he is visiting, it is a big, BIG deal. Streets are blocked-off, extra security appears as if by magic, and pretty much everyone is inconvenienced. At one point, I was detained at length at a rather inconvenient roadblock when suddenly the President’s motorcade drove by, so I waved, and President Bush waved back! In his thick Israeli accent, the guy standing next to me said, “Who does he think he is?” That fellow’s question is precisely the point of today’s passage: Who are WE (as individual believers), anyway? And how do we fit in with the larger community of believers?
Paul speaks of 2 things that God “grants” all believers. He gives us each a measure of Faith and an allotment of Grace.
Biblically, I am not convinced that God actually gives you Faith like an automatic download. Instead, I believe God reveals His Way by the power of His Spirit; then He gives us opportunities to act on that “revelation” faithfully. That whole system, whereby God interacts with His creation in such a way as to see their faithfulness grow, is itself a gift, His Grace towards us. It is said that faith is a “muscle.” It grows when we work it out, and it shrinks when we forsake it. And if you want your faith to grow, start being diligent with small things. When He faithfully responds to YOUR faith response to His call, you are encouraged, and your faith increases.
God’s “grace” is not just about our eternal salvation. Sure, we are saved by grace, through faith alone, but God also calls us to be His hands and feet in the world. Where God guides, He provides, so He “graces” all believers with the spiritual tools needed to complete His objectives. Those God-gifted spiritual tools are not for our glory but God’s.
In neither of these scenarios is any boasting appropriate. All that we have, we owe to the Lord. Therefore, while some of us may have more high-profile or lucrative jobs, by God’s grace, we are all equal in God’s eyes. We wouldn’t have anything were it not for the Lord.