For we have many parts in one body, but these parts do not all have the same function. In the same way, even though we are many people, we are one body in Christ and individual parts connected to each other. We have different gifts based on the grace that was given to us. So if your gift is prophecy, use your gift in proportion to your faith. If your gift is serving, devote yourself to serving others. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching others. If it is encouraging, devote yourself to encouraging others. If it is sharing, share generously. If it is leading, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping, help cheerfully.Romans 12:4-8
Do you see there is a progression in Paul’s thought? After all these amazing things God has done for you, give Him your bodies as a living sacrifice. But first don’t be conformed to the world. Don’t bring the world into the church. Be metamorphosed by the renewing of your mind. Turn your thinking into right thinking. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. When you can do that then the gifts, apportioned by the Lord for the body of Christ, can function in their fullness. If you don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought then the apportioning of gifts by the Holy Spirit is not a problem. If we are not thinking straight then we can get all bent out of shape over the gifts and their differences and who has them.
In Romans 12:3 there is clearly a distinction between people as a result of that which God has given out. He gives gifts differently. Some are given a particular gift and others aren’t. It is like that in life too. But oh how sad that often the giving of a gift can set people against one another. Paul is saying get “your thinking straight first” . Yes these gifts are different and to some more is given, i.e. the gift of faith. But don’t worry about it. Exercise it to the best of your ability. Don’t compare yourself with another, just be the best gift bearer and practitioner of that gift you can be. Leave the rest to God. But make sure your mind is straight and you engage in right thinking as you do it.
The issue of “gifts” is a huge one, fraught with dissension and controversy all the way. Maybe that is why Paul needed to make these comments. Perhaps he had seen what it had done to the Corinthian church and didn’t want that to happen to the church in Rome. I don’t intend at this point to make more comments on the gifts other than what is in this passage in Romans 12. We could spend the next weeks talking about the gifts. But I won’t, I will stick to the text and place the emphasis where Paul places it. Sorry if that disappoints you. Continuing story in the next Gem.
Being certain of Scripture’s authority is humility. Being certain that my interpretation is always right is arrogance.Rick Warren
No one is more attractive than the man or woman who’s broken of self-centredness, self-seeking, & self-importance.Rick Warren