These verses spoke to me deeply when I read them this morning, and I think they summarize some of the themes of this week.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:3-8)
Two of my deepest flaws, as I’ve mentioned before, are pride and arrogance. That is why verse three caught my eye to begin with. I originally thought that humility had to come before faith, and so I humbled myself. I still believe that’s true. But I wonder now if, as Paul said, humility also comes with faith. In order to accept God into my heart, I had to first be humbled. Then, when God entered my heart, I was humbled by my faith in him. It’s a beautiful thought.
In verses four and five, Paul speaks eloquently about community. He says we are all different, and yet we are all united under Christ. We are many and we all serve each other, and serve the Lord as one. Another struggle in my own life is accepting myself as part of a community, and accepting a community as part of myself. I must step out of that shadow, and find a community of light, as is part of God’s plan for me. That community will be made more whole by me, and I will be made more whole by it, and together we can serve the Lord better for each other.
Verses six through eight are a call to action, and they offer me hopeful encouragement. Though I am humble before God, I also yearn to find my gifts, and discover how to use them to seek and serve Him. Is mine simply to love? To serve? to lead by example?
Over the last week, I have felt compelled to write. I have always been a writer in my heart. When I was young, and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I “grew up,” I would usually say that I wanted to write books. Written words have always held magic for me. That’s why this space exists. Perhaps there are readers, and perhaps not. It’s equally likely that I am the only person that will ever read this, and that’s okay. I’m writing it for myself and God, and to myself and God. If that is the extent of the audience, then by his grace that is the greatest audience that anyone could ever hope for.
But still, I wonder if my words are impelled by something greater? Was I inspired by something low and human, like my own vanity? Or is something greater driving me? Is this my service? Time will tell, and I will continue to seek. And, as long as I find myself compelled to do so, I will continue to write.
Father above us, Father among us, Father in our hearts, I ask that you untie my restraints and inhibitions with your love, that I may find a place in a community of those who love You even more deeply than myself, so that we may worship you together, and lead each other by example.