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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Today’s Reading | Romans 11:33–12:8

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you 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 not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (NRSV)

Reflection
I find this to be a very inspiring and reassuring passage. It reminds us to be both humble and to search ourselves for our unique gifts—“the grace given to each of us.” We are urged to apply ourselves to those talents and serve Christ in a way that we are notably gifted to do so.

All of us grow up with goals and ideals of who we want to be, and many of us find out that our particular skills may not serve us well for those ideals. I remember my father always telling the story about talking with a preacher at Fourth Church about his decision to go to seminary and how that coincided with the day he finally had to admit to himself that he wasn’t ever going to be a centerfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. For my dad that was the sermon that convinced him that he had found a new church. He could relate to that.

With his dreams of playing centerfield for the White Sox behind him, my dad went on to serve his community and church in many ways using his own particular leadership gifts. To the benefit of many, he was never able to figure out how to hit a curve ball. All of us have different strengths and special abilities; sometimes these are readily apparent, and sometimes we have to search ourselves to discover them. Figuring out what we do well and using those gifts to serve others is the goal God has given us.

Prayer 
Dear Lord, thank you for blessing each of us with unique gifts and talents. Give us the wisdom and humility to discover and know those strengths and the inspiration to share our gifts with others generously, diligently, and cheerfully. Amen.

Written by John Shorney, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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