Romans 12:1-8New International Version (NIV)

3 Feb

Romans 12:1-8New International Version (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

3 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. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a]faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

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It can be hard to accept that each of us has gifts, especially when so many voices tell us otherwise.  We seem to live in a society where judging another’s faults is trendy, and when people are constantly focusing on what we can’t do, it can be challenging to accept the idea that God has given us all gifts.

 

It can be more challenging to accept that God has given us each gifts to serve Him and others.  Especially when our own lives are full of challenges, and we can feel defeated by life, how are we supposed to believe in the notion that we can help others when even saving ourselves seems impossible?

 

None of us individually may have the power to solve all the world’s problems, or even all of our own problems.  But Paul shares in his letter to the Romans that each of us has different gifts.  

 

I see this every day in this community.  I’m not going to lie and say that our community isn’t full of people with weaknesses and vices.  But I’d argue that about any community.  But one of my gifts is that I’m a good study of character.  As an introvert, I tend to spend a lot of time observing others.  And every single day, in this community, I see people using the gifts that God has given them to serve, even if it’s simply to help a friend and not to save the world.  

 

As individuals, we may not be able to conquer all challenges, but as we all have different gifts that compliment each others’, as a community, working together, we can support each other and all overcome challenges that we can not do when are divided or isolated.  

 

But what if we haven’t yet figured out our gifts or how to use them?  That’s the dilemma I’ve had to struggle with lately.

 

I had a plan.  Actually, I’ve had lots of plans.  I’ve come to recognize my gifts, and I’ve attempted to chart my own course on how to use those gifts.  And every single time I’ve tried this, God had redirected me.  In layman’s terms, my plans always crapped out.  

 

I’ve had to accept that two of my great challenges lay within trust and humility, or rather in a lack of.

 

When I came to accept my own gifts, after years of devaluing my self-worth, I was sure I knew how best to use them.  Though I accepted my gifts were from God, I thought that God was given me a vehicle in which to travel to the destination of my own choosing.  And I kept hitting roadblocks.

 

I finally found serenity only when I figured out that I needed to just hop in the car and let God drive, and not even worry about the destination.

 

Ironically, when I was planning this sermon, I had in my head what I was going to talk about, and with God and Google, I came upon the scripture I just read, and instead of using scripture to support my plan, my planned sermon changed to what the scripture taught me.  

 

And that’s pretty much how I’ve had to accept life.  I’ve learned I need to follow God and trust he’ll show me the way, rather than telling him where to lead me.  

 

My intended message today was that everyone here has something to offer, and you may already be offering it, even if you don’t see it.  I see it.  And others here probably see it too.

 

But in this week, I’ve also learned that if we don’t know it or see it, it’s okay.  We just have to do our best to do what we can, and let go of what we can’t.  God may not have given us all we need to overcome our challenges, but if we work together, God has given someone else the gifts that may help you, and you may have the gifts to help another.  A wise friend and mentor of mine shares, “God may give us individually more that what we can handle, but perhaps He doesn’t give a community more than it can handle.”
So as has become a custom here at Cathedral, this was just half the sermon.  We’ll now pass the mike, and allow anyone else who wishes to share to respond, add to, or offer an alternate view…

You can watch a video of the sermon here.

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